FCA says it will learn from Covid-19 as it publishes annual results

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its annual report, adding that it will learn from the lessons of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the year, the British financial markets watchdog has imposed 15 financial penalties on firms totalling over £224m for misconduct and thus ensuring that £135m was paid to customers for disclosure failings on enhanced annuities.

Moreover, the FCA has given immediate support for over 3.4 million consumers and for thousands of businesses affected by coronavirus (Covid-19), continued its work to prepare for EU withdrawal, and continued to drive for a change in the culture of financial firms with the extension of the Senior Managers and Certification regime.

“The last six months alone have shown the FCA’s efforts to ensure as many people and businesses reach the other side of coronavirus’s immediate impact in as good a shape as possible,” said Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive of the FCA.

“The FCA’s speed of action in the midst of the crisis was made possible by long-term work, much of which came to fruition last year. For example, our ability to act in the credit market was underpinned by reforms of years, which was pushed further in 2019; our joint focus with the Bank of England on firms’ operational resilience has proven its worth in lockdown; and the measures we’ve taken to transform the FCA and improve its data analysis have helped us manage the current crisis.”

Charles Randell, Chair of the FCA, added, “We were prepared for a year of change and challenge, and the year certainly brought those. To ensure that we are able to meet the challenges ahead, we will continue to transform our own organisation, building on lessons from our rapid response to the coronavirus crisis.

“This transformation will equip us better to identify harm, intervene more quickly and take tough enforcement action against serious misconduct as we supervise nearly 60,000 authorised firms.

“Financial services need to do more to ensure equal opportunities for all. We want to be open about our own challenges in better reflecting the society we serve. So this year we are publishing more detailed information on our gender and ethnicity pay gaps. We also publish our disability pay gap for the first time. We will encourage similar action from the firms we regulate.”

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