|Standing watch over the British Consumer|
In December 2014 FCA heads rolled and FCA bonuses were cancelled. Was it due to a failure to show adequate Authority over a firms' Financial Conduct? To find out, we travel ten months back in time.
In February 2014 the FCA published a review of the pensions annuities market. It had noticed there was something rotten going on, and it thought it was about time it thought about looking into doing something about it. But more of this later.
On 27th March 2014 the FCA briefed newspapers, about another insurance industry scam saying:
“We want to find out how closed-book products [products that are no longer being sold afresh but still have existing customers, such as long term investment products] are being serviced by insurance companies, as we are concerned insurers are allocating an unfair amount of overheads to historic funds.
As firms cut prices and create new products, there is a danger that customers with older contracts are forgotten. We want to ensure they get a fair deal. As part of the review we will collect information to establish whether we need to intervene on exit charges.”
"Intervene on exit charges"!? The prospect of regulators actually doing something to protect consumers shocked the market. There is a sacred covenant in the financial industry that regulation in Britain is the thin end of a thin wedge. Was the covenant being broken? Fearing for their dividends, investors started selling and insurance company share prices plummeted.