Dentons on 4th September published a report asking where the FCA is focusing its attention. This question is of considerable interest to authorised firms, as it is helpful in informing the allocation of compliance resources and board attention. In this report, Dentons digs deeper into the FCA’s data to address the following questions:
- Is FCA investigation and enforcement activity increasing?
- It says that the FCA data shows that the regulator is indeed conducting more investigations. It also shows that it is issuing fewer fines.
- Where is the FCA focusing its enforcement resources?
The data shows that market abuse (insider dealing and market manipulation) and financial crime are the top areas of FCA investigations, together amounting to 45% of all open investigations.
- In which areas is the FCA increasing or decreasing its levels of activity?
Both financial crime and retail conduct investigations have grown steadily over the last 2 years, with financial crime growing especially rapidly.
- How long do enforcement investigations take, and what is their likely outcome?
For a civil or regulatory case that was ultimately settled, the average time has doubled from 16 months 3 years ago to 32 months in 2017/18.
- What other points of note are there in the FCA report?
The FCA emphasises its investigations in relation to money laundering, including systems and controls to prevent it, in its sections on both retail and wholesale conduct; the FCA notes that it has increased its focus on pensions cases;