For the second time, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has teamed up with its own Practitioner Panel to assess how the regulator is perceived by the firms it authorises.

26% of firms replied to the survey, compared to 21% last year. The average satisfaction rating amongst all firms is 7.6 out of 10, up from 7.5 last year. The satisfaction rating amongst smaller firms – who generally have much less in the way of personal contact with the FCA – rose from 6.9 to 7.3. Amongst consumer credit firms, the satisfaction rating was largely unchanged at 7.5, and the highest score was obtained from the retail lending sector, where it was 7.7.

When asked to rate the quality of the communications they received from the FCA, the average score was 7.4 out of 10, up from 7.0 last year. 93% thought that the level of communication they received from their regulator was “about right”. 64% believed that the level of data requests made by the FCA was also “about right”.

In the introduction to the report on the findings, the FCA says it is aiming to enhance its engagement with smaller firms in various ways, including:

  • The ‘Live & Local’ national outreach programme
  • Improvements to direct digital communications such as the monthly Regulation Round Up
  • Greater use of webinars

Firms were more confident that the FCA can meet its strategic objective of ensuring that financial markets function well (86% of respondents) than they were regarding whether it can meet another of its objectives, that of promoting effective competition (72%). The equivalent figures in 2017 were 79% and 60%.

The FCA is pleased that there has been a significant increase in the proportion of respondents who said that they could recall some form of FCA enforcement action in the past two years that was relevant to their business. This figure rose from just 31% last year to 56%. It can be vital for firms to be aware of the reasons why other firms have been subject to action, if only to make sure that the same failings are not replicated in their own organisation.

84% of firms said they made use of the FCA ‘Regulation Round-up’ email and 81% claimed to visit the FCA website.

38% of retail lending firms and 61% of retail investment firms said they were using some form of external assistance, such as a compliance consultant.

Some of the most negative results surrounded whether the regulator is doing well enough on the international stage. Firms were slightly less likely than they were last year to agree with the statement “the FCA is sufficiently leading developments in international regulation”. Only 28% of respondents thought the FCA had provided sufficient communication to firms on Brexit-related issues, although it should be noted that as many as 50% indicated ‘neither agree or disagree’ to this question.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article