Sunday Telegraph: Good cop, bad cop: if the FSA can find no wrong-doing by individuals, why did Shell have to pay nearly £90m in fines to regulators on both sides of the Atlantic?: Sunday 13 November 2005
Sir Philip Watts, the unpopular and shaven-headed former chairman of Shell, is delighted that the Financial Services Authority is taking no further action against individuals over the company's exaggeration of its reserves last year. But it leaves the rest of us pretty perplexed.
OK, Watts is innocent. But if the FSA can find no wrong-doing by individuals, why did Shell have to pay nearly £90m in fines to regulators on both sides of the Atlantic?
It is the second time that a company has been fined by the FSA even though the regulator has not prosecuted any employees. The infamous Citigroup bond trade, which saw the American investment bank fined £14m, also failed to yield any scalps.
It has become commonplace to say that the FSA is too powerful; and that it drives everybody nuts with its demands. But this is only true in the case of the consumer or politically sensitive areas, such as the sale of pensions or money laundering. When it comes to regulating wholesale markets and the activities of large companies or big investors, the FSA does not know whether it is coming or going.
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