Regulators

They matter. Only voters can counteract the influence of the big battalions. You are a voter.


Here’s a starter list:

The regulator now responsible for aspects of the system that affect individuals (otherwise known as voters) is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It describes this function as ‘consumer protection’. It is also responsible for ‘ensuring that relevant markets function well’. The word ‘relevant’ is not defined but is understood to refer to the activities of the Financial Services Industry.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) deals with complaints. It does not regulate. Curiously, it is separate from the FCA.

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) regulates banks, insurers and major investment companies with a particular focus on financial stability. It reports to the Bank of England. The FCA and PRA were once combined in one body called the Financial Services Authority (FSA) but the 2007/8 financial crisis (and the failure of anyone to see it coming or prevent it when it came) rather put paid to that.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) was thought to be a regulator in the world of audit, accountancy and financial reporting but it appears it didn’t agree. Following a range of accounting scandals it is being wound up and replaced by something more effective, but there are as many opinions on what that should be as there are bodies issuing consultation documents on the matter (as at May 2019).

The FCA

The FCA rather gives the game away by categorising individuals as ‘consumers’. They regard the savings and investment process of individuals as the ‘consumption’ of products prepared by intermediaries (the Financial Services Industry) instead of what it is (or should be): re-cycling of investment capital into wealth-creating activities, the very opposite of ‘consumption’.

It also struggles with the iron logic of the Fixed-Sum-Game. The industry it is regulating contributes £65billion per year in taxes. In any struggle about the size of the industry’s slice of the ‘Fixed Sum’ who do you think it is going to favour?

The FSCP

There is another body called the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) established to "represent the interests of consumers".

Heard of it? Thought not.

The Panel includes a number of very able people. 16 of them. But the following from the website rather gives the game away: 'Membership of the Financial Services Consumer Panel is constructed to represent the various sectors within which regulated financial businesses operate, often based on nominations made by trade associations'. So the 'representatives' of special interests drown out the consumer representatives.

They publish good work but generate no publicity and therefore have no discernible influence on matters that conflict with the industry view.

The FCA does not mention them.