There has been a 65 per cent jump in the number of firms referred to the Regulatory Decisions Committee, suggesting an acceleration in FCA investigations, according to Cleveland & Co, the boutique legal advisory business.
Information provided to Cleveland & Co by the FCA shows there were 476 firms in 2017 that were referred to the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) in 2017, a significant rise from the 289 in 2016.
The RDC makes certain decisions on behalf of the FCA relating to enforcement and supervisory actions for firms, as well as firm authorisations. The RDC is the final stage of decision making for the FCA, and decides on warning notices including those for financial penalties, suspensions, and public censures.
Cleveland & Co says that the jump in firms being referred to the RDC could be linked to the FCA’s renewed clampdown on misconduct by firms and individuals.
Recent research from RPC revealed that there was a tenfold increase in the value of fines levied by the FCA last year. Fines rose to GBP229.5 million in 2017 with GBP229m of that total levied against firms.
Cleveland & Co says that the value of fines issued by the FCA had been falling prior to 2017, as the regulatory body underwent several rapid leadership changes – the FCA was run by three Chief Executives in just over a year.
Emma Cleveland (pictured), Managing Director of Cleveland & Co, says: “With a growing number of firms being referred to the RDC, more sanctions could be on the horizon. After a couple of years of upheaval and distractions, the FCA spotlight has come back to shine intensely on firms’ misconduct again.”
“With firms facing an increased threat of FCA action, it’s crucial that firms seek expert advice before deciding how to act following investigation.”