FCA receives record number of unauthorised activity reports

Written by Oliver Wade

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) received a record number of reports of unauthorised activity in the past 12 months, and is taking almost four times longer to complete criminal cases, according to date from the authority’s annual report analysed by Linklaters.

The data revealed that the time taken to conclude criminal cases had nearly quadrupled since 2015, with the regulator receiving 13,309 reports in 2017/18, a record high. The average length of all criminal cases was 16.3 months in 2015, but has soared to 58.2 months in 2017/18.

During that same period, the total value of financial penalties handed out by the FCA plummeted by 78% to just £69.9m.

Commenting on the data, Linklaters financial regulation partner Nik Kiri said: “Although overall fine levels have been at a reduced level in recent years, this is at least partly because the earlier fines as a result of Libor and FX scandals were exceptional in nature.

“The FCA has opened a much larger number of investigations over the last 18 months, both into firms and individuals.”

Furthermore, Kiri added that a number of the unresolved cases would test the effectiveness of the senior managers and the Certificate Regime, which was introduced in 2015 with the aim of making individuals more accountable.

The regulator said that the number of cases it had received in the last year, whether criminal or otherwise, had increased by 14%, and that processing criminal cases typically took longer than others.

However, the FCA has claimed that moving to its new offices in Stratford would “enhance its ability to deal with cases efficiently” in 2018/19. The regulator has also increased its staffing levels, the report found, rising from 2,511 in 2015 to 3,739.

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