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Calls grow for FCA to introduce new rules in wake of Wirecard scandal

Calls grow for FCA to introduce new rules in wake of Wirecard scandal

In the wake of Wirecard's demise, Nigel Verdon, Railsbank co-founder and CEO, has called on the industry and regulators to introduce new provisions for material outsourcers such as card issuing platforms as a further safeguard to protect client money.

Verdon points to the example set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which has put in place new rules regarding outsourcing to give the industry comfort on matters like orderly shutdown, service levels and step-in rights.

In the UK, the FCA's decision to freeze client money held at Wirecard led to widespread panic in the fintech sector, as firms which relied on the German processor for operational support were thrown into stasis.

In a letter to the FT last week, Antony Elliot, founder of the Fairbanking Foundation, said the Wirecard affair showed how vulnerable customers were receiving “second class protection” from the FCA.

“Far better scrutiny is required of the regulatory gap to ensure the financial services industry is meeting the needs of vulnerable customers,” he wrote.

Verdon says fundamental changes could and should be made in the industry to ensure healthy market growth and stability.

“eMoney safeguarding regulations in the UK should sit under trust law very much like the FCA’s existing and well-regarded Client Assets Sourcebook (CASS) client money regime," he says. "That way we will avoid a similar crisis occurring in the future, where there is conflict between safeguarding in the Financial Services and Markets Act and company liquidation law under the Companies Act where the liquidator on behalf of creditors under certain circumstances can claim client money.”

He says that if the changes suggested were implemented, it would have created a more orderly situation in the wake of Wirecard’s collapse, with minimal-to-zero impact upon consumers.

“Change is possible," says Verdon. "But for that to happen, the industry must unite and work together with all key stakeholders, including the Financial Conduct Authority.”

Comments: (1)

Nick Ogden
Nick Ogden - RTGS.global - London 14 July, 2020, 09:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think the regulations are very clear regarding client funds and safeguarding, it is the firms and individuals that create the issues. That said a set of regulatory standards, with legal penalties, that could be applied to the auditors who take on any regulated business is long overdue. The auditors are the bridge or conduit between the firm and the regulators, and by making their role responsible under the statute would ensure at the very least that all bank balances and safeguarding funds were accurately identified and reported.  As a very good audit manager once said to me on a potential regulated acquisition, start with the bank statements and work backward...