FCA aren't looking into banking culture anymore...
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have decided that they're not going to bother with their inquiry into the culture, pay, and general behaviour of staff in banking. Everything concerning our banks is completely fine and we've all been worrying about nothing. Obviously.
The watchdog were going to see if pay, promotions and incentives were a contributing factor to some of the wild misconduct that we've seen recently. Seeing as banks have been embroiled in countless scandals, which have seen hundreds of millions of pounds in fines being dished out, you'd think that someone might want to get to the bottom of all this?
Obviously not. Mark Garnier MP, a Conservative member of the Treasury Select Committee, thinks there's something fishy going on here, and that this might be a 'political' move. Talking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "There's always been this great argument that perhaps the Treasury is having more influence over the regulator than perhaps it ought to."
"And certainly if I was looking for a Machiavellian plot behind what's happened here and the tone of the regulator then I suppose I would start looking at the Treasury."
"And it's certainly been widely talked about that the Treasury thought the regulator was overdoing it in favour of the consumer and certainly from my point of view on the Treasury Select Committee, I thought otherwise."
Instead, the FCA are going to be working with individual companies, in the hope that there'll be a "cultural change". Sounds like they're going to pop round for a brew and say 'has there been a cultural change yet? There has! Oh good - see you when we see you.'
Mark Garnier continued: "I think it remains to be seen whether this is a cancellation or a delay, but I fear it probably is a cancellation and I think probably we're missing an opportunity to be able to look at what is best and worst practice across the banks."
As an aside, and in no way a suggestion of anything untoward, honest, this decision follows FCA boss Martin Wheatley - brought in because he was an uncompromising regulator - was basically sacked by George Osborne, and at a time when some UK banks are threatening to move their headquarters overseas.
Looks like our Chancellor is gently trying to steer everyone away from hating the banks, and getting rid of Wheatley - who is very outspoken when it comes to our financial institutions - is phase one of that.
In a statement, the FCA said: "There is currently extensive ongoing work in this area within firms and externally. We have decided that the best way to support these efforts is to engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change as well as supporting the other initiatives outside the FCA."