FCA work in review April 15 – 28 2024

A busy period for the FCA featured three big speeches and an unusual development in the BSPS scandal.


Permission for KBFS Financial Services to provide any financial services has been cancelled by the FCA. The move comes as a result of advice given to former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) by the firm, its failure to engage with the FCA “in an open and cooperative way”, and its failure to pay redress awarded by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

For more on the ongoing BSPS story, see under Publications below.

A total of £533,000 ($667,000) has been recovered for investors by the FCA from an unauthorized deposit-taking scheme operated by Bright Managment [sic] Solution Limited and others.

The money has been recovered from Bright, Soccer League International Limited, and three individual defendants, Mohammed Zakir Hussain, Mohammed Abdul Kahhar and Kayes Miah. All accept the FCA’s claim against them, which was that they had been “carrying on unauthorized deposit taking by accepting money from the public for different projects, including forex trading and crypto-assets.”

Criminal proceedings on two counts of fraud and one count of breaching the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 have been launched against Lee Steven Maggs, who is alleged to have operated an unauthorized investment scheme called Kube Trading.

The scheme received around £2.67m ($3.34m) from investors between March 1, 2019 and January 22, 2021. The allegation is that the scheme involved trading CFDs in forex, and that Maggs concealed significant losses from investors. He is also accused of misrepresenting how the scheme was operated and how funds were handled.

Financial Services and Markets Act 2000

Rules and consultations

Expressions of interest are sought from market participants to join the FCA’s advisory committee.

The committee aims to;

  • help develop reforms that improve market competition, increase consumer protection and enhance the integrity of markets;
  • identify market changes that may affect the proper functioning of secondary markets;
  • provide data and analysis to support policy reforms.

Members are appointed in a personal capacity and appointments last for two years.

Applicants should email the Secondary Markets Advisory Committee at smac@fca.org.uk with a CV and cover letter by May 13, 2024.

Guidance was issued on the anti-greenwashing rule that comes into force on 31 May. We took a more detailed look at what it means.


The FCA took the unusual step of publishing the main decision letter issued in rejecting complaints about its actions around the British Steel Pensions Scheme (BSPS). We covered the move and the background to it.

Speeches and media

Sheree Howard, the FCA’s Executive Director, Authorisations, gave a powerful speech, drawing on personal experience, to the PIFMA Women’s symposium conference on the subject of ‘Reaping the rewards of investing in women’.

The FCA’s Financial Lives Survey found more women than men were struggling to cope financially, and Howard linked this finding to the need to create a culture in financial services which enables it to better attract and retain female staff.

“Women are under-represented in financial services, both as employees and as investors. The two are connected,” she said. “To meet customers’ needs, you do need to have some understanding of their experiences. And one factor that deters women following financial services careers is the high-profile cases of non-financial misconduct.”

She highlighted the fact that “Non-financial misconduct – which includes sexual harassment – is sadly still present in our industry and impacts financial performance.” And she said: “Firms should tackle the individuals who don’t meet those standards,” pointing out those individuals “risk their firm’s reputation and their clients’ money, as well as their colleagues’ wellbeing.”

She added: “It is worth reminding ourselves that nothing in an NDA can prevent an individual from reporting an incident to the FCA. And I mean nothing.”

Howard also stressed the importance of addressing wider cultural issues, referencing a study by Hargreaves Lansdown that found that “half of all women who grew up openly discussing money in their family said they were investors, compared to just 41% of those that did not grow up around money talk.”

She concluded by saying it was vital to: “Attract more women to work in our industry by addressing our cultures, extend the opportunity earn and grow wealth by engaging women on their terms to meet their needs and champion a new norm.”

Sarah Pritchard, the FCA’s Executive Director, Markets and Executive Director, International spoke on balancing competitiveness and innovation while protecting consumers and the integrity of the market at an event staged by The CityUK.

The speech was the latest attempt by a senior figure at the FCA to explain the thinking behind the regulator’s approach across the board.

Pritchard concluded: “Only by considering all the elements that create the right foundation for investment and growth will we succeed. To do so, we – the regulator – need to be open-minded, open to change. To provide support for those who want to do business here, but sustain trust and our national reputation through the maintenance of high standards.”

The FCA is examining the case for developing a commercially viable framework for data sharing in Open Banking and Finance” in order to help the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) “make the most of the opportunities of Big Tech – whilst mitigating the risks”.

That’s what FCA Chief Executive Nikhil Rathi told the DRCF in a speech recently, emphasising the FCA wants to take an approach that is “proportionate and supports innovation.”

The speech came as the regulator published its response to a Call for Input on the competition implications of Big Tech and data asymmetry.

Rathi concluded: “Digitisation has broken down borders; it is for us to make sure our regulatory barriers are effective, proportionate and pro-innovation. Without industry, there would be no innovation, so your engagement is vital. 

“As regulators we stand ready to co-ordinate efforts to make sure that these developments are sustainable and future proof for our firms, our markets and consumers.”