U.K. regulator asks public to help shape agency

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today launched a debate about the type of regulator needed to restore customer trust in financial services.

In his speech to the conference, Hector Sants, FSA chief executive and PRA chief executive designate, said:

“It is not the regulator’s role to determine its own mandate. That is for society as a whole to agree. An independent regulator’s job is then to select the best tools to use.

“But unless the outcomes those tools are designed to achieve are aligned with society’s expectations, the regulator will not have the necessary mandate to operate, nor will it be a sustainable institution. As I have said before this was undoubtedly a problem for the FSA.”

In her speech at today’s meeting, Margaret Cole, interim managing director of the conduct business unit, said:

“The failures of the past ten years mean that change is essential. We have a once in a generation opportunity to shape the new regulatory structure and challenge past orthodoxies. We must not waste it.

“The FCA approach document and today’s conference are our first steps in rising to this challenge. We have time between now and the end of 2012 when the FCA is due to be established to consider what kind of regulator society wants the FCA to be and what this means for its operating model.

“It is critical that the issues are widely debated. For the FCA to be a credible and effective regulator it must have the support and backing of Parliament and the public from the outset. What it can be expected to do and achieve and what is outside its remit, undesirable or impossible to achieve should be clearly understood. Central to this is the recognition that the FCA will not be able to prevent all failures either of individual firms or in the way that firms treat their customers.”

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