If the FCA is true to its latest word we should have its response to the various complaints this month. However, I am not holding my breath especially as Andrew Bailey suggested to the TSC last month that it was already with the Complaints Commissioner.  I made four separate complaints against the FSA and FCA on 29 January 2016, 5 February 2016, 18 February 2016 and 22 February 2016. Following a series of errors and delays by the FCA in acknowledging my complaints the FCA chose, against my wishes, to treat all four complaints under a single complaint reference. The FCA assured me that this treatment would not delay resolution of any of the issues I have raised. Then –

On 25 April 2016 the Senior Complaints Investigator informed me he hoped to issue a final response within 4 weeks. This did not happen.

On 29 July 2016 the Senior Complaints Investigator informed me he hoped to issue a final response by the end of August, if not sooner. This did not happen.

On 26 August 2016 the Senior Complaints Investigator informed me he hoped to issue a final response in the week commencing 19 September. This did not happen.

On 21 September 2016 the Senior Complaints Investigator informed me he would not commit to a date for issuing a final response. He chose to copy his letter to the Complaints Commissioner.

I am still waiting.

It will be interesting to see how much the FCA gives us to play with in their response. They know it will end up with the Complaints Commissioner (who is giving them an increasingly hard time) so it will be a bit of a balancing act no doubt.

At some point the FCA is going to have to come clean over how it enforced the Prospectus Rules. The FCA’s failure to take any meaningful action in respect of clear breaches of the Prospectus Rules is completely unacceptable and leads to unfair outcomes for consumers. The Prospectus Rules are based on the same statutory provisions as those which give rise to liability for damages so the FCA should apply the Prospectus Rules consistently with the statutory provisions in order to protect consumers rather than expect consumers to bring courts proceedings against issuers. The FCA is aware, and has acknowledged, that it is not feasible for individual consumers to bring such actions due to the cost, time and complexity. Failure of the FCA to act leads to unfair outcomes whereby sophisticated institutional investors obtain private confidential settlements from issuers with consumers who are retail investors in the same listed securities get nothing. I have seen this happen numerous times and there is the current live example of the 2008 RBS Rights Issue prospectus where RBS is settling with institutional investors whereas most retail investors are not even part of any group involved in litigation and will get nothing unless the FCA acts to ensure fair outcomes.