Regulator watch

Ben Mason

15 December 2021

Which regulators are the most active? Which regulators are sleepy? I like to keep an eye on regulator activity, measured in part by the volume of their output and the nature of their interventions.  Our automated regulatory data feed gives me just the tool to do that.

Our regulatory updates are generated by applying a filter to the entirety of a regulator’s output, to get rid of the most irrelevant regulator posts (and there are many of zero interest to most people). The remainder are then distributed to users of My Compliance Centre who can filter further and disseminate, add actions etc.

As of 8th December (which is getting very close to practical year end for most regulators) we had processed 1250 regulatory updates across the eight regulators we track. 

The highest producer is, of course, the FCA, with 350 regulatory updates of interest. The key driver for this is both the proactive nature of the FCA’s approach, particularly when it is under pressure as it is now, and the FCA’s wide scope of regulatory coverage – essentially right the way across the financial services sector. Many people in financial services see the industry through their own lens, but the FCA, of course, regulates nearly everyone: asset management, capital markets, retail investment business, insurance, mortgages, banking, consumer credit and payments – amongst other things. 

In second place for pure activity is ESMA – the European regulator for investment business – with a whopping 255 updates of interest.   Life in the banking world is not a doddle either, with the PRA and EBA clocking 127 and 181 regulatory updates of interest respectively.  Is life easier for UK compliance officers being out of Europe we ask ourselves?  There is certainly a lot less regulatory updates to track (with no political point being made!).

And what are the nature of these regulatory updates?  There are a wide range of categories. Those with noticeable volumes include speeches, statements, reports, guidance, consultations and press releases. The European regulators stand untouched with their reports being vast in number.  Interestingly, the only regulator with a proper business plan is the FCA – possibly highlighting that most regulators don’t see themselves as businesses!  Overall, however, we identified 150 different document types highlighting the wide array of regulatory output. 

And of course, the big question: which is the standout notification from a regulator this year?  

In a normal year then Lloyds Banking Group Insurance’s fine of £90m would be the standout performance. But, this year is special. Credit Suisse’s £147m fine for “loans tainted by corruption” and an instruction from the FCA to forgive $200m worth of loans, effectively giving an overall cost in excess of £300m, reminds us all of the old maxim:  “if you think compliance is expensive, just try non-compliance”.

View all December 2021 Newsletter articles