MPs have claimed that the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) oversight of the UK banking sector is weak, as chief executive Martin Wheatley admitted not knowing about all of the banking sector’s skeletons.
Wheatley and FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones faced a grilling by the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), as part of its six-monthly hearing into the UK watchdog’s progress in curbing bank wrongdoing.
Conservative MP Alok Sharma asked Wheatley whether he was aware of all the skeletons in the closet, to which he answered that it was something he discussed when he met the chief executives of the banks, but even they don’t know about all the skeletons in the major organisations.
“I share the view that this shakes confidence in the financial system but the majority of what is coming out is historic – some issues are more recent but the majority go back a fair way,” said Wheatley. “My hope is that there will be less stories coming out as time goes on.”
Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said, “Mr Wheatley’s comments are further evidence that some banks may be too big to manage. It is crucial, therefore, that the reforms proposed by the commission are fully implemented.”
Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, Mark Garnier, added, “What this clearly shows is that…the banks put pressure on you and you have succumb to come up with an agreement that is loaded up in favour of the banks to the detriment of the people who you are meant to be protecting.”
Tyrie said, “It is now more than two years since they promised the Parliamentary Commission on banking standards that they were tackling poor behaviour, reforming their culture and turning a corner. Clearly much more still needs to be done. The spirit may be willing – particularly at the top – but the flesh remains weak.”
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