FCA issues secret warnings to financial bosses

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The FCA has sent warnings to 39 senior executives of financial services firms behind closed doors, with 14 still in authorised roles.

A Freedom of Information request by the Financial Times has revealed the use of “private warnings” against senior management, which includes 14 chief executives and three non-executive directors.

The FCA’s use of private warnings does not require a full regulatory investigation, but stays on the individual’s record. Those who are censured must disclose details of a private warning to a new employer.

The data covers the number of private warnings issued between 2011 and 2016. Use of the secret warnings spiked in 2012, when 21 senior bosses were rebuked out of a total of 64 private warnings. Many of these are said to relate to Libor rigging.

Individuals can challenge private warnings through the judicial review process, but this would make the warnings public.

The FCA says it is “reviewing its policy in relation to the use of private warnings and we will determine our approach to future use of this tool in light of responses to the consultation.”

Law firm CMS Cameron McKenna regulatory partner Simon Morris told the newspaper: “Private warnings are not a get-out-of-jail card. The FCA does not issue private warnings lightly. It’s an identification of serious failings.”