The City roundup video: Bleakest day for the FCA

Video: Jim Armitage provides a run-down of the day's major news from the City

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It was the bleakest day for the Financial Conduct Authority, the City's regulator, since its foundation in 2011.


Because today saw the launch of a long-awaited report which was sternly critical of how the FCA revealed secret information to a newspaper about its plans to investigate Britain's vast insurance industry to a newspaper.

This was, effectively, a sanctioned leak – really not the way the main regulator of the world's biggest financial market should behave. In the words of the report’s author, Clifford Chance lawyer Simon Davis, the FCA created a "false market" in the shares. “High risk, poorly supervised and inadequately controlled” is how the report summarises the watchdog.

Essentially, the whole thing comes out looking like a ham-fisted spin operation by the regulator to paint itself as the big tough City policeman. But it wasn't thought through, and a cheap publicity stunt ended up potentially costing your, and my pension funds – which invest in the companies whose shares were sent gyrating as a result  - many millions of pounds.

Elsewhere, BG, the former gas exploration arm of British Gas, sold its Australian gas pipelines for £3.2bn and Standard Chartered, the UK-based bank, admitted the US authorities would be monitoring its New York offices for a further three years to check closely that it is not breaking sanctions.

Finally, NBrown – mail order fashion group for the larger lady – has admitted sales plunged 11 per cent at its Jacamo and Simply Be brands thanks to the unseasonably warm weather. Let's hope the current cold snap brings it a happier time this Christmas.