The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be run as a consumer champion and not for the benefit of member firms, according to a leading regulatory lawyer.
Speaking at the Personal Finance Society conference, Simon Morris, a partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, said CEO designate Martin Wheatley [pictured] would run the regulator primarily to avoid a "kicking" from politicians and the media.
"The FCA will be a very politically savvy regulator," he said. "It will win points by being seen as a consumer champion, not by being soft on firms."
"The FSA was kicked and kicked by the Treasury Select Committee over the regulation of RBS, HBOS and Northern Rock.
"On his visits to the TSC, [Wheatley] does not want to look like a naughty schoolboy, and the way he will do that is by being a very firm and adversarial regulator."
The FSA had become increasingly media-savvy in recently years, adopting what is internally called "the Daily Mail test", Morris said.
"If you are an IFA, you might have noticed [the FSA] has become more demanding and challenging, and less willing to accept assurances. That's what you will get in the future.
"The Daily Mail test is: ‘we will not approve any firm, product or service if we think it will go wrong at some point, and we can get criticised in the Daily Mail or by the TSC'. They actually call it that."
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