Settlement in enforcement cases

Agreeing to settle with us is not the same as an out-of-court settlement in the commercial sense. An FCA settlement is a regulatory decision taken by us, the terms of which are accepted by the firm or individual concerned.

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When we agree the terms of a settlement, we will carefully consider our statutory objectives and other relevant matters, such as the importance of sending clear, consistent messages through enforcement action.  

We will only settle in appropriate cases, where the agreed terms result in acceptable outcomes. Redress to consumers who have been disadvantaged by a firm’s misconduct may be particularly important. 

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, settlements that lead to a final notice or supervisory notice will result in some degree of publicity, unlike commercial out-of-court settlements, which are often confidential. 

At our discretion, we may also agree a settlement with parties who admit they have committed a competition law infringement and agree to a streamlined procedure for the rest of the investigation. In that case, we issue an infringement decision but impose a reduced penalty on the settling party. Find out more about competition law and how we use our powers.

Early settlements

Settling enforcement cases early is sometimes in the public interest. It can help both the industry and consumers by sending timely messages about the required standards. 

Early settlement may also result in consumers receiving compensation earlier. It can also save resources for the firm or individual and us.

Discounts on fines for early settlement

We have a discount scheme for cases that are settled early (e.g. before a decision notice is issued).  

If early settlement is reached on terms acceptable to us (bearing in mind our objectives and relevant guidance), we apply a discount to the financial penalty and any period of suspension or restriction.  

The discount is available on a sliding scale, depending on the timing of the settlement: 

  • Stage one (early settlement stage – normally within 28 days of stage one starting): 30% 
  • Stage two (up to the expiry of the period for making written representations to the Regulatory Decisions Committee): 20% 
  • Stage three (up to the decision notice being issued): 10% 

No discounts apply to any settlements after we issue a decision notice. 

See the Enforcement information guide for more information. 

For more information on our settlement process, please see our Enforcement information guide and the Decision Procedure and Penalties Manual (DEPP).

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