UK regulator revisits anti-fraud and sanctions enforcement strategy – POLITICO

LONDON – The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has revised its approach to monitoring UK markets amid growing threats of fraud, consumer harm and circumventing Russian sanctions.

In a document, the regulatory authority has outlined 13 priorities for the next three years released today, alongside the obligation to evaluate its performance in more detail.

One second document outlines its agenda for the new financial year ending April 2023, bolstered by a higher budget of £640m versus £613m. For the first time since leaving the EU, the costs associated with leaving the bloc are expected to fall from £10m to zero.

Under a long-standing vow to make the FCA “more assertive”, chief executive Nikhil Rathi pledged to hire 80 new staff to hunt down rogue firms in the UK financial sector, as well as use more data analysis and IT skills to track down money laundering and evade sanctions .

“We will improve our ability to detect market abuse by significantly improving our market surveillance systems,” the report said. “Financial crimes – including fraud, money laundering, sanctions evasion and terrorist financing – wreak enormous havoc on society.”

Other priorities include raising standards, minimizing online banking blackouts, encouraging greater competition and “strengthening the UK’s position in wholesale markets”.

In an accompanying message, Rathi pledged that the agency was “changing our operating model to focus more on the problem at hand, rather than just looking at types of companies or sectors.”

“This was… crucial to our ongoing work with international partners in response to the war in Ukraine,” he added.

Alluding to an ongoing internal conflict over changes to the administrative and wage structure, which led to unionisation, high turnover and difficulties in recruiting talent, Rathi said 200 people had “joined the organization since the beginning of the year and ” dozens” would continue to join each month.

FCA didn’t release a detailed staff figure today but they had 4,194 staff last summer.

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