Watch­dog prom­ises over­haul af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - MONEY - Adam Wil­liams

The head of the City watch­dog has writ­ten to MPs to prom­ise that im­prove­ments will be made to a cru­cial in­dus­try reg­is­ter amid con­cerns over the amount of in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion be­ing pro­vided to con­sumers.

In a let­ter to the Trea­sury Se­lect Com­mit­tee, seen by Tele­graph Money, An­drew Bai­ley, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fi­nan­cial cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity (FCA), ac­knowl­edged wledged that the or­gan­i­sa­tion had ad to stamp out er­rors in the he Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Reg­is­ter. is­ter. He said he was aware of f “is­sues in data qual­ity”.

A re­cent Tele­graph Money in­ves­ti­ga­tion dis­closed how fraudsters had taken en ad­van­tage of out-of­date in­for­ma­tion on the e reg­is­ter to pre­tend to be e an au­tho­rised fi­nan­cial firm. One reader, Gil­bert rt West, 69, lost £44,275 to scam­mers who posed d as a le­git­i­mate firm that t had in fact ceased trad­ing. ng. The reg­u­la­tor had known wn about this for more than n four years but had failed to up­date the reg­is­ter. In his let­ter Mr Bai­ley said the reg­is­ter had grown from 400,000 firms and in­di­vid­u­als to 750,000 in the past decade. He said the reg­u­la­tor was over­haul­ing its pro­cesses to en­sure firms that en­tered ad­min­is­tra­tion were im­me­di­ately flagged on the reg­is­ter. This was a di­rect re­sult of the case high­lighted by this news­pa­per, he said. The chief watch­dog wa said his or­gan­i­sa­tion had made it eas­ier for con­sumers to see in­for­ma­tion on the web­site, web but added that fur­ther im im­prove­ments would re­quire sys­tems sy up­grades. Firms will be re­quired to keep th their own in­for­ma­tion up to date and the reg­u­la­tor will have the power to fine tho those that display in­cor­rect inf in­for­ma­tion. This will be lit­tle co con­so­la­tion to peo­ple who have al­ready lost te tens of thou­sands of p pounds be­cause of the reg reg­u­la­tor’s lax record keep keep­ing. Vic­tims have no le­gal right r to com­pen­sa­tion, even if their de­ci­sion to in­vest hinged en­tirely on the in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the FCA.

The reg­u­la­tor ini­tially re­jected Mr West’s claim but later agreed to pay him half the sum lost. This news­pa­per has un­cov­ered eight fur­ther cases from 2017 in which com­plaints were up­held. Three of the com­plainants were paid a col­lec­tive £12,359 as a re­sult of in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion on the reg­is­ter.

Nicky Mor­gan MP (pic­tured), who chairs the Trea­sury Com­mit­tee, said: “Fol­low­ing re­ports of in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Reg­is­ter, Mr Bai­ley has ac­knowl­edged the need to over­haul it. With grow­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the reg­is­ter, and im­prove­ments be­ing made to help con­sumers, the need for a com­plete and up-to-date reg­is­ter is para­mount.” Mrs Mor­gan said she planned to raise the mat­ter with the FCA dur­ing its next ev­i­dence ses­sion.

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