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FCA quizzes 152 firms on 'high risk' investment activity

FCA quizzes 152 firms on 'high risk' investment activity

The Financial Conduct Authority has questioned 152 firms on their 'high risk' investment activity.

According to the watchdog’s annual report, the FCA will continue its focus through 2018 on firms offering unsuitable high risk investment products to consumers with lower risk appetites.

The FCA stated: ‘In line with our consumer protection objective, our supervision in 2017 included multi-firm work to ensure we better understand the level of high risk investments recommended to retail consumers.

‘We will continue this work in 2018 and use the results to shape our future supervision activity for these types of investments.’

Elsewhere in the report, the FCA said is would use an £84 million rainy day fund to pay for its work on EU withdrawal.

The cash will also be used to fund the regulator’s move from Canary Wharf to the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The regulator had £84 million in its reserves on 31 March 2018, a significant increase on 2017’s £66.7 million 2016's £43 million. 

The watchdog credited this to ‘historical underspends’ including a £16.4 milion underspend in 2017/18.  

This underspend was due to reduced staff costs because of attrition, lower than budgeted external enforcement costs, and slower than expected recruitment, as well as savings on IT and ongoing projects.

The FCA’s total income for the year was £600.3 million, up from £574.9 million last year. The regulator's total operating costs also increased to £547.1 million from £518.8 million.

Despite lower than anticipated recruitment, staff numbers grew from 3,635 to 3,739, with full-time staff rising from 3,496 to 3,363.

The regulator saw its budget for salaries increase by 2% with an additional 0.5% to address 'anomalies'. This resulted in 77% of staff receiving a rise. Almost all staff (91%) received a bonus.

Chief executive Andrew Bailey earned a basic salary of £440,000, up from £330,000 in 2017 and total remuneration of £549,000, up from £449,000.

Total staff costs rose to £334.3 million, compared to £329,000 in 2017.

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