FCA private warnings
FCA private warnings

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • FCA private warnings
  • Private warnings
  • What is a private warning?
  • What should the FCA consider before giving a private warning?
  • How will a person know they are receiving a private warning?
  • What is the procedure for giving a private warning?

Private warnings

Private warnings are important regulatory tools used by the FCA. They are used by the FCA in order to achieve its regulatory objectives under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA 2000) of market confidence, financial stability, the protection of consumers and the reduction of financial crime. The FCA states in its Enforcement Guide at paragraph 9.8 that:

'When the FCA has concerns about the fitness and propriety of an approved person, it may consider whether it should prohibit that person from performing functions in relation to regulated activities, withdraw its approval, or both. In deciding whether to withdraw its approval and/or make a prohibition order, the FCA will consider in each case whether its regulatory objectives can be achieved adequately by imposing disciplinary sanctions, for example, public censures or financial penalties, or by issuing a private warning.'

What is a private warning?

Private warnings are the first rung on the ladder of FCA enforcement action. The FCA's risk-based approach means that it may have concerns about the conduct of an approved person, or evidence of a breach of regulatory rules, but nevertheless consider it appropriate to issue a non-statutory private warning rather than bring formal disciplinary action.

Private warnings are a non-statutory tool and are no different to any other FCA communication which criticises or expresses