If you ever thought that Brexit had become an over-discussed issue, that must have been several months ago. It is a topic that is destined to succeed in fighting its way out of the shadows that have over-cast it. Whether you regard the intervening months as light relief depends on your point of view. For some, of course, this is a truly tragic time; for rather more it is a time of considerable frustration, seeing good businesses damaged by events well beyond local control. Getting back to Brexit looks positively appealing.
With that in mind, many people will have fallen on the FCA’s Business Plan with excitement, having hunted high and low for a diverting read. We well understand your disappointment only to find that all the promised regulatory entertainment is heavily qualified and subject to FCA finding the time to do a little bit of BAU.
So we forecast that recent events will be a hook on which the regulator hangs its oven-ready strategic shift away from techy discussions on nice points of regulation to bigger issues more likely to gratify the press, the politicians and even the public. It may seem curious to forecast a shift without knowing who will lead the charge, but there we may see this shift determine the selection of leader. Having been of the view that only an internal candidate would accept the poisoned chalice, we now think it may be that FCA gets a much more political leadership, focused on taking UK regulation through Brexit into a very different place.
Meanwhile, there is work to be done. The first priority is to keep the team healthy. The next is to be certain that clients are not damaged by disruption. The third is to ensure that the areas that FCA has raised since the beginning of the year, variously but pretty consistently, in its January Dear CEO letters, in its Sector Views and now in its Business Plan, are thoroughly reviewed and well under control. Busy and distracted as they may be, we expect they will try hard to be seen to follow-up wherever possible.
We wish everyone a safe, if unadventurous, summer.