The risk of trying to eliminate risk

Oxford Dictionary of English (2013);

“RISK: a situation involving exposure to danger”

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) is spending millions of pounds and wasting thousands of hours trying to eliminate ‘risk’. Much of their sweat is focused on those modern financial derivatives, shares. They much prefer that the poorly educated British public, who know no better, put their taxed balances in, let’s say, banks! Like the Co-operative which they have managed to completely mishandle. Somebody, somewhere in the FCA (or FSA, as was) approved the appointment of the Reverent Paul Flowers as Chairman.

The FCA is, five years too late, getting worked up about crowd-funding. There are now thousands of people holding worthless shares in mis-sold equity investments. There are some respectable organisations who are attempting to generate early stage equity finance: we applaud that. There are also the crooks who simply make a killing and disappear.

The regulator is trying to define ‘unlisted shares’ the implication being that a share is safer if a market is involved in its quotation. This is what the FCA said recently:

“We are planning to replace current references to ‘unlisted shares’ with ‘unquoted shares’: we are also planning to define these terms so it is clear that they refer to shares that are not listed on the Official List or traded on a recognised investment exchange.”

I don’t know what this means. I am sure that the London Stock Exchange will be pleased that its AIM trading platform will be referred to as unquoted. Have they asked HMRC who define a recognised exchange under s.1005 of the Income Tax Act  2007.

The financial sector is currently paralysed by the fear of FCA retribution. If they detect anything whereby they subjectively feel an individual has been exposed to undue ‘risk’ they will lash out and apply their elephantine sanctions.

Compliance Officers are Gods. They rule the roost. And in the meantime the Co-operative Bank struggles to survive and the pay-day loan companies fleece the British public.

The real risk is that I will lose my sanity: I bet that’s an offence under the FCA rule book.

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