On 16 April 2018, the FCA published a transcript of the press conference that took place to mark the launch of its Business Plan for 2018-19. An extract from one of the Brexit related questions and the FCA’s answer is set out below:
Huw Jones (Reuters): I’ve a question on Brexit. Last month, you and the PRA came out with a statement saying ‘take comfort from the transition deal, carry on with your business as normal from next March’. So far, it’s been pretty much radio silence from the EU side, although we had Valdis Dombrovskis today saying, ‘Certainty on transition will come only with ratification on both sides of the transition deal’. That is, implying that you can’t really rely until October or later. Are you concerned about this and the effect on financial stability, the effect on firms preparing for Brexit?
Andrew Bailey: That’s a very good question. We’re very aware of the EU’s position on this. I was in Brussels last week and talked to the Commissioner about it. Let me say a couple of things on it. Notwithstanding that very clear position – and of course you can see that under the overall heading of nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – as I said in the speech we published when we put our statement out, it’s important that we have regulatory engagement and that we have that regulatory engagement now, because we are dealing with practical issues around someone used the term ‘cliff edges’ and they are symmetric. In other words, they affect both sides and the best solutions to those issues undoubtedly come from coordination. Whatever the agreement on when transition is decided upon formally, we should have the work in place by the point when we reach that, to have planned how we’re going to deal with it. There is a very clear answer to that and we need to start the work now. We’ve done a lot of work, as I hope you are aware, with the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Government on these issues and we’re ready to engage.
Let me just pick up the second point, because you rightly mentioned financial stability. Obviously, you’ll have seen what the FPC put out in its statement and its map, if you like, of the issues, which again the FCA was very much part of putting together. The best answer for financial stability is to work on these issues intensively so that we are ready to go, as it were. We shouldn’t hold the work up, in my view.
When answering another Brexit related question relating to what issues have been deferred to make room for the FCA’s Brexit work the response includes the following comment from Andrew Bailey:
There has been a question raised in the context of the Senior Managers Regime about whether general counsel should be a responsible function. That isn’t an easy question, because obviously it raises big issues about the role of legal advice and so on in firms, but it has been raised, including by lawyers, I should say. We were going to do some work on that. We will do some work in the future on that, but it isn’t going to happen in the next year.
The second example I would give is that there is a proposal, which we think again has merit, for developing a public company filings digital archive for the UK. Again, a good thing to do no doubt and there would be benefit from it, but we aren’t going to do it in the next year.