The Regulator’s rather unexciting Plan has all the appearance of a document produced under orders to ‘say nothing new’. With a caretaker CEO, that is, no doubt, what we should expect.
Having made that point, to what extent does the Plan meet our forecast? Most of it is there, in one form or another. There is coverage of MiFID II and three references to CASS. Cyber-crime is on the menu, albeit with the promise of ‘working directly with firms and markets’. MAR will be ‘applied’, rather like a poultice, and the Asset Management Market Study will roll on with its implications for competition. Individual responsibility is firmly in favour – all part of the SM&CR plan, but no mention of the switch of focus from corporate fines to a more personalised form of discipline. Add to that financial crime being the subject of systematic supervision and culture the Nevada for which they will continue to strive, dragging in reviews of remuneration structures and proper use of whistleblowing ‘intelligence’.
But they did not remember everything. The items on the conveyor that eluded them included getting properly stuck-in to conflicts of interest, despite their indirect references through MiFID II and the Asset Management Study, and best execution, about which they appear to have said nothing, not even under Thematic Reviews, while Supervision continues its work in this very area. And what about security of sensitive information? Have they forgotten what they wrote on that already? No memory games for them, then.
So what? Well, we know which areas they remembered to mention, but I am not sure that their omissions prove anything. We know they are looking at best execution and Tracey has told us that she is fed up with huge fine (now that it all goes to HMT). They have only just sounded off about sensitive information, telling us how much there was to do, so they should be following up on that before too long. And if they don’t come back to Use of Dealing Commission this year, I will do an Ashdown – eating the hat, that is, not the other.