The UK’s top financial watchdog was notified of nearly 650 covid breaches by the City’s top brass during the pandemic as well as over 100 counts of bullying and racism, new figures have revealed.
The Financial Conduct Authority was told of a total 194 counts of misbehaviour from banks and 552 from institutional fund managers in total, of which 646 were breaches of covid restrictions, according to data relating to the behaviour of senior managers and certified persons at fund and banks between 2020 and to September 2021, obtained by the Following the Rules Podcast.
A Freedom of Information request against the watchdog revealed that 66 of the complaints related to racist behaviour by senior staff at banks and fund, while 44 related to bullying.
The complaints highlight the expanding remit of the regulator as it is forced to ramp up scrutiny of non-financial misconduct and weed out the source of poor culture among the City’s top firms.
Mark Turner, managing director in the financial services, compliance and regulation practice at risk consultancy Kroll, said non-financial misconduct was increasingly falling under the scope of the regulator.
“Until perhaps 2018 non-financial misconduct would’ve been seen as an HR only matter and something that the FCA would not have been particularly interested in,” he told the Following the Rules Podcast.
He added that the supervisory approach has “evolved over the last four years or so” however.
“So when firms engage with their supervisors at the FCA, they are being asked questions about things like bullying, harassment, and, and non-financial misconduct. And they’re expected to be able to respond to those questions,” he said.
The FCA declined to reveal how many investigations had been opened but said enforcement was not always “the right tool to use in every incident of non-financial misconduct.”
“What we want to understand in our regular discussions with the businesses we regulate is that they treat non-financial misconduct seriously and take action when they discover issues, including notifying us,” a spokesperson said.