Outside glass view of RPC building.

FSA fines increase again - more 'crime'? Or just more 'punishment'?

12 April 2011

The latest twelve-month figure for the total of FSA fines has risen again.

In pursuit of its 'credible deterrence' objective and sources of alternative funds (in future, by reference to the target firm's revenue from the offending business area), the link between fines and the gravity of the conduct in question seems to be weakening.

As anticipated in my recent article on the FSA's enforcement activity in 2010, FSA fines have continued to increase.  Jonathan Davies' press release yesterday notes that, for the twelve-month period ending 31 March 2011, the fines totalled £96.7m.  Compare this to the year to December 2010 - although based on over-lapping years, Jonathan's press release then referred to a lower figure of £88.4m.

Under the post-March 2010 fines regime, the level of fines will likely increase as the target firm's revenue from the product or business area linked to the breach will be taken into account.  In combination with its continued and deliberate practice of shaming particular firms to further its 'credible deterrence' objective, it seems the FSA is giving less and less weight to the basic idea that 'the punishment should fit the crime'.