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AMI criticises 'opaque' FCA over unfair global sandbox costs

The AMI has criticised the FCA's 'lack of transparency' over resources and costs relating to a new global sandbox comprising international regulators.

Rozi Jones
|
12th October 2018
Robert Sinclair AMI
"The FCA continues to expand its innovation agenda by expanding its remit and objectives, and inappropriately allocating resources with a disregard for the firms that fund it."

The AMI has criticised the FCA's 'lack of transparency' over resources and costs relating to a new global sandbox comprising international regulators.

The Association says the FCA's proposals omit fundamental information, particularly the overall costs and how they will be apportioned, arguing that it is "grossly unfair" for trials to be paid for by authorised firms.

An initial consultation on the Global Financial Innovation Network is not publicly available to fee-paying firms, and the AMI says this "contradicts its commitment to transparency and the overall requirement to be transparent".

In its response, the AMI said: "The FCA is legally required to undertake and publish a cost benefit analysis before proposing or amending rules with cost benefit analysis having been historically included as part of any consultation.

"We are disappointed that our concerns over the increasing funding costs of the regulator continues to be dismissed by each new idea that emerges to expand the regulator’s remit.

We ultimately see the opaque nature of this work as a failure of the FCA to apply it’s legal responsibility to exercise its functions as transparently as possible."

The AMI also said that helping overseas technology firms become authorised in the UK "should not be a priority" for the FCA.

It raised concerns that a "market led by virtual boutique systems, with no offices, staff or capital that can quickly evaporate cannot be in the best long-term interests of consumer", adding that it could be seen as providing new entrants with an unfair competitive advantage.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of AMI, said: “We are concerned that the FCA continues to expand its innovation agenda by expanding its remit and objectives, and inappropriately allocating resources with a disregard for the firms that fund it.

"The FCA is expected to focus on relevant consumer and market issues, so helping overseas technology firms become authorised in the UK should not be a priority. It is already being anti-competitive with its existing sandbox as it gives dedicated regulatory support for some unauthorised firms (paid for by industry) whereas regulated firms have only the FCA call centre as a point of contact. To extend this cross-subsidisation of costs on an international scale is inappropriate for a domestic-facing regulator. The global sandbox will only benefit the firms that are in it and the FCA’s reputation for facilitating innovation.

"We are seeing a regulator that is less transparent and less willing to listen to feedback. This is a consultation in name only and we think that these proposals have been developed with selected stakeholders, with discussions mislabelled as consultations, and will no doubt continue to be implemented without any consideration of costs or industry feedback.”

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