Britain's chief City regulator fined financial services groups almost £100m in its last year in operation, three times as much as in the previous 12 months.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) doled out fines totalling £96.7m during the 2010-11 financial year, compared with £33.6m in 2009-10. The penalties included 15 fines of £1m or more, twice as many as in the previous year.
The FSA is shortly to be broken up, with its duties on regulation of the largest banks and other systemic risks hived off to a new body, the Prudential Regulation Authority. It will then be renamed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will continue to police the provision of many financial services.
However, the reorganisation is unlikely to offer the financial services sector any reprieve, according to a leading City law firm. Reynolds Porter Chamberlain have warned that, not only would all but one of last year's fines have fallen under the remit of the FCA had it been in operation, but that the new rules were likely to prompt an acceleration of the trend towards large penalties.