The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning that banks must apply the same standards of surveillance and conduct to staff working from home or in the office, as well as in future working practices going forward.
In her speech at the City Financial Global Event earlier today (12 October), Julia Hoggett said there is a risk of “less self-policing” among front office staff who are working from home during the pandemic.
Hoggett warned that, due to the nature of remote working, what is considered inside information may change during the pandemic.
This is of particular concern to the FCA as the number of mergers, and issuance of shares and debt rises sharply to keep companies afloat.
Hoggett said: ‘‘While scenarios emerged early in the pandemic where the usual levels of recording and surveillance were not possible, our experience suggests firms have now overcome these challenges.
‘‘Our expectation is that going forward, office and working from home arrangements should be equivalent – this is not a market for information that we wish to see be arbitraged.’’
She added: ‘‘There is also a risk of less self-policing amongst front office staff. As an example, consider a pre-crisis situation where a front office employee observes, or overhears, something questionable involving a colleague nearby.
‘‘In normal circumstances, we would hope, and expect, that the activity would be questioned, or reported to Compliance. With people working remotely, especially when staff are working from home, that type of first line control may be diminished, or absent.’’