FCA is ‘doing its best’ and asks for ‘understanding’ as city regulator counters concern over unfilled roles
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) claimed it was “doing its best” and asked the City for understanding as it faced down months of criticism for failing to hire fast enough to meet its swelling remit.
In an interview with the Following the Rules podcast, Emily Sheppard, chief operating officer of the FCA, said it was not possible for the regulator to stamp out financial crime completely and called for cooperation from the City to help it clampdown on rogue actors.
“We are not going to catch absolutely every fraudster, every scammer out there. We do our best with what we have, but we can’t be perfect,” she said. “I think that is possibly the one thing that I want to get out there.”
The calls come amid criticism that the watchdog has struggled to hire fast enough to meet the demands of its growing responsibilities, which are set to absorb areas including regulation of cryptoassets and environmental, social and governance labelling .
Its workload is also expected to ramp up as the Financial Services and Markets Bill gives the Treasury and regulators the powers to rewrite EU-era rules.
Concerns have grown in some corners of the City over whether the regulator does not have the capacity or headcount to meet its remit. Some one in ten roles currently sit empty at the FCA despite a summer hiring spree, according to data released earlier this month.
Sheppard said the FCA was increasing the number of roles at the FCA to “meet a growing remit and to meet resource requirements”. She added that the regulator was “transforming […] into something that is fit [and] better for the future.”
A former FCA boss said recently that the watchdog was struggling to tempt in private sector workers due to its lacklustre paypackets. The regulator was rocked by staff discontent last year when around 240 of the its then-4000 staff downed tools in protest at changes to pay and perks.
An FCA spokesperson told City A.M. in November: “We continue to attract top talent at all levels of the organisation with a range of skills and professional backgrounds, and by the end of this year we will have recruited around 1,000 new colleagues.”