In a speech yesterday by the FCA’s CEO, Nikhil Rathi, to FinTech Week the FCA has said that it is currently reviewing how the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) functions. The RDC is a Committee of the FCA Board which makes certain key decisions including in the context of contested enforcement matters and supervisory and authorisation interventions as part of an administrative rather than judicial process. It operates separately from the rest of the FCA, with its own team of legal advisers, with a view to ensuring that decisions are made by individuals who have not for example been involved in investigating the issues in question or supervising firms day to day.
The FCA’s review is looking at whether decisions on authorisation or supervisory interventions could be made in a more efficient way to facilitate quick and decisive action. The FCA is particularly focussed on those not meeting regulatory standards in this regard and ensuring that they are prevented from entering or removed from the market in a timely manner.
Whilst there is clearly merit in ensuring that those who fall short of regulatory standards are removed from the market promptly to protect consumers and other market participants, and more generally for streamlined decision making, any changes which may be perceived as impacting on independence of decision making may not be favoured by firms. As recognised in yesterday’s speech, the RDC plays a key role in ensuring fairness of regulatory decision making and therefore, any proposed changes to facilitate swifter decision making, must be balanced with the requirement for quality accountable regulatory decisions and the objective of engendering confidence in the process.