Rapid responses

Good regulation

[Re: Regulator: I’ll shoot first, ask questions later, Wednesday]
I am disappointed by your paper’s coverage of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) likely new stance. Your coverage seems to confuse two quite different things: first, the expected new approach to dealing with any retail products that are likely to cause significant consumer detriment; and second, the approach to dealing with firms or individuals through the FCA’s new investigations and enforcement process. My understanding is that Martin Wheatley, the FCA’s incoming boss, was talking about the first issue when he made the “shoot first” comment. If you were to ask any consumer, or consumer representative body, about whether the old system of conduct regulation needed to change, I suspect you’d get a resounding yes. In no other sector of the economy are products which can cause significant consumer detriment allowed to be marketed and sold for years, without any action being taken. I suspect you’d also get a yes from the major retail firms, which want clarity and certainty from their regulator, rather than the toxic blight and hefty price tag that comes with retrospective reviews of past mass sales and restitution. And you would certainly get a yes from the majority of parliamentarians, who are setting the legal framework for the FCA.

Christine Farnish, chair of Consumer Focus

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