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FCA bottles bank battle but Tyrie stays silent

City regulator halts inquiries into banks and HSBC but Andrew Tyrie, outspoken Treasury Select Committee chair, says nothing.

FCA bottles bank battle but Tyrie stays silent

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has started the New Year not with a bang but a whimper.

The regulator has dropped a review into banking culture and ended its investigation into allegations that HSBC’s Swiss private bank helped wealthy clients evade tax by deciding against further action.

The two shelved reviews add to a decision made by the regulator in October to not publish a thematic review into inducements and conflicts of interests in the retail investment advice market, instead incorporating its findings into its proposals as part of the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) II.

The timing of the FCA’s decisions adds to the controversy as the news leaked out over the Christmas period, while everyone was more busy with wrapping rather than regulation.

The plot thickened further as it emerged that acting chief executive Tracey McDermott is the frontrunner to get the FCA's top job on a permanent basis.

Conspiracy theorists leapt to the conclusion that she has done what she can to please the Treasury by dropping the reviews after George Osborne pushed out her predecessor Martin Wheatley by failing to renew his contract, ostensibly because of his tough stance on banks.

Dropping the banking culture review in particular – apparently a decision personally authorised by McDermott – seems at odds not only with her strong previous stance as director of supervision and authorisations, but also with recent comments she made cautioning against an ‘infinite cycle’ of de-regulating too much in a benign economic environment leading to old problems resurfacing.

She was the one regulator to emerge with anything resembling credit from the HBOS report, as she pushed for the regulator to look at the wider bank rather than just one division. This attitude jars with the more recent news.

The FCA said that it would continue its work on banking culture through its supervisory team, but the decision not to publish a formal review has been met with criticism.

Treasury Select Committee (TSC) member and MP Mark Garnier told Citywire: ‘I’m certainly disappointed. The thematic review would have provided a good broad base everybody could have used for best practice across banks.

'By publishing a thematic review people like the TSC, the British Bankers’ Association and the Banking Standards Board get an opportunity to scrutinise how progress is being made in terms of culture. The FCA missed that opportunity,' he said.

‘It’s really important because ultimately you are trying to win back trust. By having a report saying how banks are working at it then you end up with consumer confidence being returned,' added Garnier.

Interesting however, is the absence of a comment from the ever-vocal TSC chair Andrew Tyrie on the FCA’s recent approach. He declined to comment on the banking culture review or lack of action against HSBC, in stark contrast to his usual willingness to make his case on a wide range of financial news stories not long after they break.

Let’s hope his silence does not last too long.

9 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Jan 05, 2016 at 17:28


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Jan 05, 2016 at 18:13

so the messge from the government is that you should try to lie, cheat and steal from people, dodge taxes and, only if you are caught, you will only ever be fined (guaranteed no prison time for funding terrorists, drug smugglers, defrauding pensioners and depositors) shareholders/owners of the banks will pay no taxes until the amount of the fines have been clawed back over the next ten to twenty years.

In the meanwhile, banks receive zero financing by a new cartel formed with the Bank of England and the UK Treasury so they can further rip off depositors by using financial repression to fail to compensate investors for massive hyperinflation in asset prices.

Yes, that's the big message I read into this. For banks, it's "no taxes, print money" for individuals it's "give me all your money, you muppets" - that is unless you learn the lesson of lying, cheating nd stealing taught by the Old Lady, the Treasury and the banks.


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Jan 05, 2016 at 18:24

The crooks running the TBTF banks seized power in 2008.

Of course that's just a fallacious conspiracy theory..

They're really just a bunch of honest, hard working, much misunderstood, victims of circumstance.

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dennis rooke

Jan 05, 2016 at 18:57

Once again the government have failed to call the Bankers bluff and the CEOs still try their best to circumvent the rules and continue their fat cat pay and bonuses while the little men are jailed. Maybe the chancellor should not have so many meetings and breakfasts with these guys come on Martin Taylor say something you started brilliantly on the commission let's hear your voice again as an ex Barclays man you should be listened to more closely

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Roger Savage

Jan 05, 2016 at 19:20

Politicians, 'regulators', bankers, hedge funds and other corporate party donors - all in it together, all 'at it' together, whatever the party colours.

Has there ever been a more vile, blatantly corrupt bunch manipulating the UK for their own ends under the banner of a supposed democracy?

I honestly think not and they're so 'worried' by the off chance that the will of the people might be enacted at the ballot box that they don't even seem to try to hide blatant corruption anymore. Not surprising when LibLabCon represent the lowest form of political garbage that is imaginable - the only choices being more of the same or simply another flavour of terminal degradation for the UK.

As an aside (but along similar lines) I also found it interesting that a leading supermarket chain is being investigated by the CMA at a time when hedge funds are shorting its shares to death - the same hedge funds that are connected to government...

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Alan Tonks

Jan 05, 2016 at 23:14

I couldn't agree with you more Roger!!

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Jan 05, 2016 at 23:39

Oh dear, the FCA couldn't make a good enough case for the state to be able to confiscate the profits of private enterprise.

I have to ask this question, where is the authority that the citizens can complain to about the dishonesty, criminal activities, menaces, sheer blood incompetence of government and local government?

All and any fines, and they would be numerous and large, to be paid by the individuals occupying the offices/seats of those seeking to utilise the powers of the state/local government to harass, persecute, impose upon, extort and blackmail the citizens.

Stray on to a bus lane, you could find. If a bus strays into the road from a bus lane, no penalty. If the local authority failed to collect rubbish, no penalty.

If the particular local authority unreasonably persecutes a motorist in relation to an alleged offence, where they ignore the obvious in the initial instant in the hope of double compensation, no penalty.

Where you seek to exact penalties, expect penalties to be exacted, that is only fair and just.

Where a so-called ombudsman, I stress so-called, ignores the general law and excuses the fee payer from a proper penalty and compensation to those it was supposed to be properly advising, what is the fine? Since, zero, FA minus 10,000%, de nado and for the taxpayers how much to be charged against cheating MPs/peers/civil servants? Again FA -2 million%.

If the state can exact fines, then the citizens should be able to exact fines against the individuals purporting to represent the rule of law/the state, without recourse to tax monies.

For those in a particular political party seeking to bolster their electorate by allowing aliens to freely enter, not only should there be conspiracy and imprisonment, but a 10,000% charge against their assets, entire assets, present and future, forget the spouse and children.

Bankruptcy rules not to apply. They deliberately sought to deceive, let them reap the whirlwind that they have sown.

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chris walden

Jan 06, 2016 at 07:33

The article says:


"George Osborne pushed out her predecessor Martin Wheatley by failing to renew his contract, ostensibly because of his tough stance on banks"

I say:

This is entirely inconsistent with the comments made by Treasury Select Committee members at the Evidence Session with the FCA's Martin Wheatley on 10th February 2015, regarding the banking scandal on Interest Rate Hedging Products mis-selling Redress Scheme.

Mark Garnier MP: "You have succumbed to pressure from the Banks to come up with an agreement which is loaded in favour of the Banks, to the detriment of those people you are charged with protecting"

Andrew Tyrie MP: "My concern is that, having been done over once by the Banks, there is a grave risk here that a number of small businesses are going to be done over a second time in the redress and compensation arrangements"

John Thurso MP: "What's at the back of this is a very distinct feeling that you, the FCA, have been captured by the Banks for matters of financial stability"

When leading members of the Treasury Select Committee talk of Regulatory Capture by the banks in this way, they should not remain silent now!

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Graham Barlow

Jan 13, 2016 at 15:42

I think the general chat in boardroom corners and over a spot of lunch at the club is" The CEO is advocating we go Off shore to either Singapore or even Hong Kong It is slowly becoming intolerable in the UK with all this political interference, There is very little left for them to go after and make a meal out of it" The Americans have found a home for the last lot Blair Brown and Darling, but this will have to be taught a lesson".

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