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The FCA’s chief executive has said it is ‘improbable’ the regulator will find nothing to report following its review of historic motor finance sales, after confirming that the investigation is not retrospective and will focus on conduct that may have breached the law in force at the time.

However Nikhil Rathi suggested comparisons with the aftermath of the personal payment protection (PPI) mis-selling scandal were not wholly accurate, stating: ‘In PPI, the regulator’s work took place over many years and this and action on redress dragged on for some time. 

‘With motor finance, because of the impact on firms, as well as consumers, we want to clarify matters in a more condensed time frame and on a basis that is robust and fair.’ Speaking at the Morgan Stanley European Financials Conference, Rathi confirmed the FCA will set out next steps by the end of September.

He went on to add: ‘Critically, this will depend on firms cooperating fully and providing data comprehensively and promptly as well as potentially the speed of any court processes.’

Rathi also indicated that firms seeking to challenge County Court judgement or a judicial review of FOS decisions should do so, adding that such a move would not complicate the FCA’s work in this area.

His comments on motor finance concluded: ‘While certainty is not something I can provide today, and I cannot prejudge what we might find, I can say in my view it is improbable we will find nothing to report as we look at historic motor finance sales.

‘Some firms will be better placed than others. Equally, I do not anticipate this issue playing out as PPI did, not least because we have intervened early in the interests of market orderliness.’