2There is no set form for a stage 1 letter though it will always explain the nature of the misconduct, the FCA's view on penalty, and the period within which the FCA expects any settlement discussions to be concluded. In some cases, a draft statutory notice setting out the alleged rule breaches and the proposed penalty may form part of the letter, to convey the substance of the case team’s concerns and reasons for arriving at a particular penalty figure.
2The timing of the stage 1 letter will vary from case to case. Sufficient investigative work must have taken place for the FCA to be able to satisfy itself that the settlement is the right regulatory outcome. In many cases, the FCA can send out the stage 1 letter substantially before the person concerned is provided with the FCA's preliminary investigation report (see paragraphs 4.13.1 to 4.13.4). The latest point the FCA will send a stage 1 letter is when the person is provided with the preliminary investigation report.