You can't rely on it, but you can't ignore it!
In furtherance of its statutory objective to reduce financial crime, on Friday the FSA has published a policy statement on financial crime - PS11/15 (the Guide) which has immediate effect.
In view of the apathetic response to the June 2011 consultation paper (CP11/12), which elicited only 50 responses, 39 of which are said to have been broadly positive, unsurprisingly the Guide tracks the provisions of CP11/12 closely. The Guide should be applied in a risk-based, proportionate way, taking into account such things as the nature and size of a firm's business – so no surprises there.
As with other guidance, the Guide is non-binding, but woe betide any firm who ignores the guidance when facing robust supervision or the risk of enforcement. It is not uncommon for the FSA to rely - in some cases heavily - on guidance, the results of thematic reviews (now called investigations) and 'Dear CEO letters'.