January 16, 2015

What a great big fuss about nothing. Insurance brokers had got their collective knickers in a terrible twist and a tizzy over tough-talking regulator Dennis Wheatley’s ‘shoot first’ regime. Now it turns out the guy’s a total pussy cat. New figures concocted this week by leading industry journal Insurance H reveal that the FCA has pretty much given up bothering brokers.

“Broker-specific” fines, the paper reports, were down a massive 750% in 2014, from £9.76 million in 2013 to a piffling £1.3 million. And that was mostly down to the hefty fines meted out to former staff of Salford-based brokers Swindleton over their shady dealings, Bankstone News understands, with someone called PPI Miss Ellie.

“Essentially what this means,” comments Franz-Hans Fliebler of business dynamics consultancy Gamblin Gibbons, is that brokers can relax, take a breath, and then clear out all the compliance managers, compliance consultants, compliance this, compliance that, basically all the dead wood that’s been littering the place up and putting a drag on the true entrepreneurial spirit over these last few years.”

Compliance consultant Banco Bjelzebubbalobl, however urged a note of caution, insisting that the low level of fines seen last year was merely a blip, couldn’t last, and would hopefully be way up again before long. “I don’t think [the FCA] have taken their eyes off the ball,” Bjelzelobbalobba warned, alluding to the visually distracted condition that can sometimes prevent professional football players from performing to their full potential.

Tel Clark of compliance consultants Robin Hood Associates echoed Mr Bjelzeburble’s comments, noting that a nice chunky wad of claims could simply be backed up in the penalty pipeline, as “It can take a couple of years for results to come out, because it’s a complex legal process, and obviously there’s the right of appeal.”

Now, in other words, would be precisely the WRONG time to start skimping on compliance advice.

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