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FCA to lenders: Watch your step

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority may struggle to show anything explicitly wrong in the awarding of recent equity mandates.


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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has got itself into one of its periodic lathers about the way in which banks secure business from corporate clients.

This time it is bothered about the awarding of equity mandates since the pandemic crisis took hold, and in particular whether they might have been explicitly tied to the provision of liquidity.

It is sufficiently worried to have penned a “Dear CEO” letter in late April that put banks on notice that it was looking into the issue.

It is tempting to assume the industry might see this as another example of a regulator simply describing how business is conducted, much like the derision with which the FCA’s 2016 report into wholesale banking was received in many quarters – with its breathless revelations that banks sometimes favoured some clients over other clients in deal allocations or even (gasp!) used league tables creatively to pitch for business.

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