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Confine the handshake to history

The five-step framework that FCA has been applying to calculate financial penalties enables FCA to flex its approach according the individual circumstances of the case.

The latest Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Mortgage Business fine looks like a large penalty for a retail bank which had failed to follow its own procedures. Look more closely at how the fine was calculated and you will find that Lloyds challenged the size of the fine and the discount to the fine.

FCA rejected Lloyds request for a greater reduction than the 40% given because Lloyds had 7 previous Final Notices involving breaches of Principle 3, management and control. These Final Notices covered a range of issues from LIBOR, to conflicts, to complaints handling and they all breached Principle 3. FCA noted that they had fined Yorkshire in 2014 for similar issues and had issued examples of good and bad practice.

Principle 3, management and control, is the most commonly used Principle when FCA takes enforcement action. This doesn't say that financial services firms are badly managed and controlled; what it tells me is that their not very good at writing down what needs to be written down.

Just look at Market Watch 56 where FCA laments finding firms without policies and procedures to handle conflicts of interest. The reason why these firms had nothing written down? they were relying on the old exchange adages, "my word is my bond" being the one many of us remember. A conflicts register filled with firm-wide as well as transnational conflicts all supported by an overarching policy is what's needed; The handshake is history.


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