1The FCA recognises that Industry Guidance has an important part to play in a principles- based regulatory environment, and that firms may choose to follow such guidance as a means of seeking to meet the FCA's requirements. This will be true especially where Industry Guidance has been ‘confirmed’ by the FCA. DEPP 6.2.1G(4) confirms that, as with FCA guidance and supporting materials, the FCA will not take action against a firm for behaviour that we consider is in line with FCA-confirmed Industry Guidance that was current when the conduct took place.
1Equally, however, FCA-confirmed Industry Guidance is not mandatory. The FCA does not regard adherence to Industry Guidance as the only means of complying with FCA rules and Principles. Rather, it provides examples of behaviour which meets the FCA's requirements; and non-compliance with confirmed Industry Guidance creates no presumption of a breach of those requirements.
1Industry Guidance may be relevant to an enforcement case in ways similar to those described at paragraph 2.9.4. But the FCA is aware of the concern that firms must have scope to exercise their own judgement about what FCA rules require, and that Industry Guidance should not become a new prescriptive regime in place of detailed FCA rules. This, and the specific status of FCA-confirmed Industry Guidance, will be taken into account when the FCA makes judgements about the relevance of Industry Guidance in enforcement cases.