Financial Conduct Authority
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FSA confirms introduction of remuneration code of practice

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today introduced a new code that will require large banks, building societies and broker dealers in the UK to establish, implement and maintain remuneration policies consistent with effective risk management.

The new code is designed to achieve two objectives: firstly, that boards focus more closely on ensuring that the total amount distributed by a firm is consistent with good risk management and sustainability; and secondly that individual compensation practices provide the right incentives.

Eight principles have also been added to the FSA’s handbook to ensure firms understand how the FSA will assess compliance.

The code makes clear that it is not expected that firms will enter into contracts with individuals which provide guaranteed bonuses for more than one year. It is also expected that for senior employees two-thirds of bonuses will be spread over three years.

Firms are expected to provide the FSA with a remuneration policy statement by the end of October. This will have to be signed off by remuneration committees and will enable the FSA to check compliance with the code. Non-compliant firms could face enforcement action or ultimately, be forced to hold additional capital should they pursue risky processes.

Hector Sants, FSA chief executive, said:

"The FSA is determined that banks' remuneration policies should be consistent with, and promote, effective risk management.  The new rules and code of practice, which will take effect from January, next year, are aimed at achieving this.

"Whilst there is general international agreement on the need for supervisory action on remuneration policies and practices we will be the first major financial regulator to take this step. We think that it is important to have rules in place for 2010."

The rule and code are consistent with the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board and with the measures being considered by others such as Switzerland and the EU. International negotiations on common guidelines should be concluded in the first half of 2010.

 

Notes for editors

  1. Policy statement: ‘Reforming remuneration practices in financial services’ can be found on the FSA website.
  2. The FSA regulates the financial services industry and has four objectives under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000: maintaining market confidence; promoting public understanding of the financial system; securing the appropriate degree of protection for consumers; and fighting financial crime.
  3. The FSA aims to promote efficient, orderly and fair markets, help retail consumers achieve a fair deal and improve its business capability and effectiveness.

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