The plan sounded more like a manifesto for change than a simple outline of business targets and it’s probably the better for that.
The challenge however, as political parties always find, will be sticking to the manifesto.
In his speech announced the Business Plan for 2021/22 Mr Rathi wisely accepted the need for visible change at the FCA.
The failure over London Capital & Finance (LCF) will continue to haunt the regulator for many years but Mr Rathi has promised a much more proactive approach in future which should help spot the next LCF much more quickly, at least in theory.
His manifesto says the FCA will be a more “innovative, adaptive and assertive regulator” in future. The word 'assertive' is interesting and will be keenly watched by many in the sector.
Even the most hardened critics will certainly have applauded the promises, however. I’m not one who has called for the FCA to be replaced (if it was, it would only be another similar body starting with an ‘F’) but radical change is needed and the watchdog certainly needs to be more proactive.
The FCA says it wants to be data-led regulator and this makes a lot of sense but it must also be a regulator that acts on tip-off, on whistle-blowers, intelligence and most of all gut instinct. Data is great and may help spot villains but it's not enough on its own.
The FCA must combine technological innovation with good, old-fashioned experience and wisdom if it hopes to catch tomorrow’s financial crooks.
Looking at some of the plans, Mr Rathi’s ‘regulatory nursery’ idea sounds positive, a promise to keep a closer eye on newer firms, often where the problems are most evident. LCF itself had a very short track record.
He has also promised to open several regional FCA offices to get closer to the ground and avoid the ‘London bubble’ effect. Again all sensible steps.
He has promised also to be tough and to act quickly, again all good points in his manifesto, it just needs to deliver on its promises. The financial services ‘electorate’ will be watching.
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Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a journalist with 40 years of experience in finance, business and mainstream news. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks, usually on Fridays but occasionally other days. Follow @FPT_Kevin