MPs ask FCA for updated list of ‘powers’

The influential Treasury Select Committee has asked the FCA for an updated version of its “powers” to inform its future work.

Appearing in front of the committee today, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey reiterated the regulator has limitations on what it can and can’t reveal on some of its investigations, in particular on its recent report into Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of struggling businesses during and after the financial crisis.

MPs have pushed for details on how the FCA will go about its second and more focused report on RBS’s Global Restructuring Group scandal.

Bailey says the FCA will ask its legal counsel what can be revealed about the investigation’s methodology as this could compromise personal confidentiality.

Labour MP John Mann said: “You referred earlier to things to be outside the regulatory perimeter. I have heard that before from yourself and your predecessor on separate issues. [For example] on what are your powers in terms of currency exchange.

“Would you be prepared to provide to this committee and it might take some time, precisely the areas of the powers that you don’t have that would be useful for us to consider whether you should have, also in relation to the GLG issue?”

Mann said an updated FCA plan on its powers would be “significantly useful” for the future work of the committee.

He said: “It is something we never had before but maybe it is something for a new committee coming into a five-year parliament, possibly, legally. It could be powers that you don’t have so that when you say you can’t do it…we are clear on our response that empowers us to change that.”

Bailey agreed to the MP’s request, admitting that many powers have changed in interpretation as a result of the senior management regime, which the regulator is still introducing.

In its mission document, published in May, the FCA says it has powers to act outside the ‘perimeter’ of its objectives in some circumstances, but will prioritise those in its regulated activities order.

The FCA also states in its mission that defining where and how it might act outside its areas of power “is not simple”.