1In cases where the FCA proposes to submit an investigation report to the RDC with a recommendation for regulatory action, the FCA's usual practice is to send a preliminary findings letter to the subject of an investigation before the matter is referred to the RDC. The letter will normally annex the investigators' preliminary investigation report. Comment will be invited on the contents of the preliminary findings letter and the preliminary investigation report.
1The FCA recognises that preliminary findings letters serve a very useful purpose in focussing decision making on the contentious issues in the case. This in turn makes for better quality and more efficient decision making. However, there are exceptional circumstances in which the FCA may decide it is not appropriate to send out a preliminary findings letter. This includes:
where the subject consents to not receiving a preliminary findings letter; or
where it is not practicable to send a preliminary findings letter, for example where there is a need for urgent action in the interests of consumer protection, restoring market confidence or reducing financial crime or if the whereabouts of the subject are unknown; or
where the FCA believes that no useful purpose would be achieved in sending a preliminary findings letter, for example where it has otherwise already substantially disclosed its case to the subject and the subject has had an opportunity to respond to that case.
1In cases where it is sent, the preliminary findings letter will set out the facts which the investigators consider relevant to the matters under investigation (normally, as indicated above, by means of an annexed preliminary investigation report). And it will invite the person concerned to confirm that those facts are complete and accurate, or to provide further comment. FCA staff will allow a reasonable period (normally 28 days) for a response to this letter, and will take into account any response received within the period stated in the letter. They are not obliged to take into account any response received outside that period. If a firm or individual requests an extension to the period for responding to the preliminary findings report, the FCA will take into account all relevant factors, including the legal and factual complexity of the case, and whether there are any factors outside the control of the firm or individual that would materially impact on their ability to respond within the period set out in the preliminary findings letter.2