The FCA does not have a set of enforcement priorities that are distinct from the priorities of the FCA as a whole. One of the FCA’s statutory objectives is to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK’s financial system. The FCA uses its enforcement powers to deliver its strategic priorities.1
The FCA’s overriding principle, as set out in FCA Mission: Our Approach to Enforcement, states its approach to enforcement is “a commitment to achieve fair and just outcomes in response to misconduct.”2 The FCA recognizes that severe penalties and sanctions are not enough to reduce and prevent serious misconduct and that it must increase the likelihood of detection alongside conducting efficient investigations.
The FCA will take the following factors into consideration when deciding whether to take enforcement action:
- the nature and severity of the actual and potential harm involved;
- the extent to which the suspected misconduct has or may affect consumers, markets, or firms if action is not taken;
- whether the suspected misconduct has potentially wider or broader implications;
- whether the suspected misconduct may have involved any lack of fitness or integrity;
- whether evidence, including witnesses and documents, is likely to be available; and
- the public interest in investigating the matter.3
1 See Financial Conduct Authority, Enforcement Guide, § 2.2.2 (Release 36, Feb. 2019).
2 See Financial Conduct Authority, FCA Mission: Our Approach to Enforcement at 8 (Mar. 2018).
3 See id. at 10.