FCA to publicise warning notices

Previously, the regulator could only publish information about enforcement proceedings at a later stage in the enforcement process, once it had decided to take action.

Following a period of consultation, the FCA said that information would be made public through a warning notice statement that will usually name the firm under investigation and, in certain circumstances, name an individual.

Publishing these details will support the FCA’s objectives of consumer protection and protecting and enhancing the integrity of the UK’s financial system. It will make clear to consumers, firms and investors the sort of behaviour considered unacceptable by the FCA and will make the enforcement process more transparent.

Director of Enforcement, Tracey McDermott said: “We listened carefully to views from inside and outside the industry. I believe we have got the balance right so we now have in place a regime that enables us to provide information to consumers, investors and firms earlier about the action we are taking to tackle misconduct to ensure markets work well and consumers get a fair deal.

“It is clear that the more transparent and open that we can make the regulatory process, the more confidence we can give people that we are acting in their best interest.”

The FCA will consider the circumstances of each case in deciding whether it is appropriate to publish details of the warning notice and, if so, what details to publish. Before making its final decision, it will consult the person under investigation and will take into account any evidence that publication would be unfair.

A published warning notice statement will ordinarily include a brief summary of the facts which gave rise to the warning notice to enable consumers, firms and market users to understand the nature of our concerns.

The Financial Services Consumer Panel welcomed the FCA’s proposals.

Sue Lewis, consumer panel chair, said: “Today’s announcement is welcome. Consumers need to be given information at the earliest opportunity so they can make informed decisions about which firms to do business with. Knowing that a firm is being investigated for misconduct is an important part of this.

"The position of financial services has been completely out of synch with public opinion.

"In the legal system alleged criminals are routinely named when charged with serious offences. Why should it be any different in the case of financial services?

"The new financial services regulator is demonstrating that it is true to its word, and is not bowing to the demands of the industry to be treated more favourably than other industries.

"The cultural change of the new regulator is starting to manifest itself in stronger consumer protection, and we look forward to seeing the FCA using its powers."