On 3 January 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a short Reference Guide clarifying its Values and Core Skills (Reference Guide). On 2 January 2019, the FCA also published its Conflict of Interests Policy, which replaces and supersedes its Code of Conduct, with effect from 1 January 2019.

Values and Core Skills

The FCA’s values represent the culture the FCA aims to develop and maintain. The FCA values are delivering in the public interest, acting with integrity, being ambitious, working inclusively as well as connecting and delivering.

The FCA’s core skills are Judgement, Engagement, Delivery and Self-management, collectively referred to as ‘JEDS’. The Reference Guide outlines how JEDS are applied for all categories of staff being Administrator, Associate, Manager/Technical Specialist, Head of Department and Director. For Directors, when exercising judgement, they are expected to make sound decisions for the longer term and apply fine judgement to address ‘difficult trade-offs and dilemmas despite uncertainty.’ Directors that demonstrate good self-management are those that maintain balanced decision making even ‘through periods of extreme uncertainty.’ The Head of Department must also be able to exercise judgment and make well-informed decisions taking into account a wide range of external and internal considerations, ‘in a context of general uncertainty.’

Conflict of Interests Policy

The Conflict of Interests Policy seeks to protect the integrity, impartiality and independence of the FCA and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), in the public interest. A conflict of interest may arise when the work of an employee of the FCA or the PSR is affected by personal financial matters relevant to a decision or an issue they are working on or where their work may be affected due to a close personal relationship either of the person in question or their close family members. This includes an expectation of a future interest, such as discussing the prospect of future employment with a FCA-regulated firm.

There are a number of prohibited transactions that neither FCA nor PSR employees may undertake, such as speculative transactions, contracts for difference as well as wagering contracts or fixed-odds bets on UK companies or equities.

Conflicts of interest may also arise by accepting gifts or ‘excessive, exclusive or expensive’ hospitality. However, if Directors – or line managers in the case of Directors – consider that accepting hospitality, which could be regarded as exclusive or expensive, is appropriate in the particular circumstances, they may authorize it.