A tough stance by the incoming Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to act "early and decisively" will bring integrity back to financial markets, chief executive designate Martin Wheatley has pledged.
In a speech at the Markets and Client Assets Conference, Wheatley said integrity "is what the FCA is going to be about".
In addition to preventing market manipulation and ensuring the stability of market infrastructure, the FCA will put more emphasis on the fair treatment of counterparties and ensuring a level playing field for market participants, he said.
The FCA will also increase the intensity of its supervision of sponsors - who facilitate listing on regulated markets - and is proposing new rules to ensure that the growth of innovative corporate governance structures avoids undermining trust in the quality of the UK listing regime.
Wheatley said the FCA will be willing to intervene in a greater range of client relationships and will no longer accept that there are some categories of relationship in which it has no interest.
"To do this, our staff will have to display a new FCA way of doing things - a new culture, if you like. They will ask questions and gather data in specialist areas to try and identify the root cause of poor conduct, and will intervene earlier where they find it," he said.
"Whenever we intervene earlier, we run the risk that there is something we do not yet know. That is the nature of the more judgement-based regulation that we want to move to.
"But if we are to achieve our objectives, we will often need to act early and decisively. We will demonstrate courage in our convictions, but be flexible enough to adapt our views if we learn something new."
"In short, you can expect the FCA to be a robust regulator of securities markets."
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