The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set for some “painful lessons” in reviews of the regulatory system this autumn, according to interim chief executive Chris Woolard, who said the regulator has “more to do” in changing for the better.
Speaking at City Week's International Financial Services Forum yesterday (21 September), Woolard - who is soon set to step down from his role - acknowledged criticism the FCA has faced in recent times.
Pointing to the scale of the FCA's mandate, he said: "The nature of the work we do means the odds are there will be times where we cannot stop failure or where we call a finely balanced judgement wrongly or miss something."
"Understandably, there is an expectation from the public that we will not do so."
"In the autumn, we will see the results of a number of reviews into potential failures of the regulatory system. I have no doubt there will be painful lessons and the FCA will need to learn from them."
He added that the FCA and "wider society" must decide "what sort of regulation" is required, with a "commitment to change for the better when we get things wrong".
In facing these "painful lessons", Woolard once again pointed to a future with a greater focus on "outcomes-based regulation", looking at what the regulatory system was trying to achieve and whether those outcomes were being met.
Woolard said the FCA must "use the full range in our kit" and "think creatively about what we do and how we do it".
He explained that the FCA will need to work alongside other agencies and regulators as "product boundaries become blurred", while its own requirements should be more straightforward, "especially for smaller firms".
He added: "The FCA finds itself - like the industry it regulates, like the society it regulates on behalf of, and the polity its regime is designed by - at a crossroads.
"The coronavirus emergency, business models, technology and consumer expectations are coming together to pose a series of dilemmas that society, business and regulators will need to tackle.
"As, if it does, the FCA must look ahead to the future but also behind it to take lessons from its past.
"I wish all of my colleagues the very best as they rise to that challenge."
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