FCA signals that it aims to take a tougher stance.

By Rob Moulton and Charlotte Collins

The FCA published its Business Plan for 2021/22 on 15 July 2021. The Plan, and accompanying remarks made by Nikhil Rathi, FCA CEO, suggest that the FCA intends to take a more assertive and proactive approach in future.

While many of the policy objectives set out in the Business Plan will be familiar to firms, the FCA’s new ethos may not be. The FCA vows to be more innovative, assertive, and adaptive: the second of which may cause concern for firms.

Mr. Rathi speaks of a regulator that is “tough, assertive, confident, decisive, agile” and of a culture that embraces risk and acts decisively. He also indicates that the FCA will be prepared to “test our powers to the limit”, and that the FCA will not be afraid to take action, even if it may not always win. Mr. Rathi comments that not winning a case “will not be seen as failure” and emphasises that when the FCA’s perception of risk has prevented necessary action in the past, the lack of action was more problematic than any potential consequences of such action.