FCA’s compliance guarantees in doubt after lack of action

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Regulatory experts have questioned the effectiveness of compliance guarantees used by the FCA after a Freedom of Information request revealed not one has resulted in enforcement action in the past two years.

An FoI submitted by Mortgage Strategy’s sister title, Money Marketing, has found that no investigations have been opened in the past two years as a result of failures to comply with an attestation made by a firm or individual.

One such case was opened in October 2012 and closed in July 2014, but did not result in enforcement action.

An attestation is a written confirmation that a firm is meeting certain regulatory requirements. They can take the form of a Dear CEO letter and are required by the chief executive or other individuals holding a significant influence function.

The FCA has stepped up its use of attestations, which aim to ensure senior individuals can be held to account, in the past two years. It requested 59 in 2014.

The regulator is also introducing the senior managers regime for banks and insurers in March to improve accountability.

Pinsent Masons senior associate Michael Ruck says: “I am surprised attestations are not being used more widely in investigations, given the amount of time they have been in use and the fanfare around them.

“It raises questions over whether attestations have been specific enough to hold individuals to account.”