Statutory notices issued by the RDC

Find out about warning notices and decision notices issued by the Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC), the documents you’ll receive if you get one, and how to respond.

The RDC is a committee of the FCA Board and makes certain decisions on behalf of the FCA. These decisions are set out in formal documents known as statutory notices.

Under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA), we're required to give statutory notices when we take certain actions or make certain decisions.

The statutory notices given by the RDC are usually: 

  • warning notices
  • decision notices

Warning notices

We must issue a warning notice when we propose to take certain enforcement action. 

The RDC is our decision-maker for warning notices, proposing to:

  • issue a prohibition to prevent an individual from carrying on particular activities in relation to regulated business, or from carrying on any such role, and withdraw their approval
  • issue a financial penalty or public censure against a firm or individual
  • issue a suspension or restriction against a firm or individual preventing them from carrying out particular actions

The RDC gives warning notices based on recommendations from our Enforcement team, which carries out investigations.  The RDC considers whether the action recommended is the right action to take, based on the material presented to it.

After you receive a warning notice you have the right to respond by making written and/or oral representations to the RDC. 

Decision notices

We must issue a decision notice if we decide to take action after considering any representations made on a warning notice (or if none are made). 

The RDC is our decision-maker for various types of decision notice, including those deciding to take the type of action set out in warning notices.

Documents you’ll receive with your notice

It’s important that the procedure used to take action against firms and individuals is fair and effective. 

To help you understand why you were given a warning notice and to help you decide whether to make representations, you will usually be given a copy of the materials which were considered and relied on by the executive decision maker or RDC when the decision was made. 

FSMA (section 394) says we must give you access to material which will, if relevant, be described in your notice. However, this does not apply to every decision to give a notice. 

The material will usually include:

  • the notice
  • the recommendation papers from the relevant team at the FCA
  • a draft of the notice that formed the basis of the team’s recommendation to the RDC or executive decision maker and a formal list of documents
  • the preliminary or final investigation report (if there was one) and any response you sent to the report
  • other correspondence and key materials relied on to support the recommendation
  • a note of any additional substantive communications between the case team and the RDC

Getting help with a warning notice

If the notice has been issued by the RDC, you can ask the Decision-Making Committees Secretariat (DMC Secretariat) for help in understanding the rights referred to in the notice and for more information about the procedure.

You may wish to take legal or other professional advice (for example from a compliance consultant) about your situation. 

The Financial Services Lawyers Association runs a scheme that may be able to provide you with free legal advice and help with responding to a warning notice. We do not run or endorse this scheme.

Responding to a warning notice

Your rights are described in general terms in the notice you receive, in the section labelled 'Procedural matters'.

If you decide to make representations to the RDC in writing or in person (or both), this is your opportunity to explain your side of the matter. 

The notice will contain a deadline for making written representations and for telling the RDC if you wish to make representations in person.

Referring the notice to the Upper Tribunal 

For warning notices issued by the RDC, you can refer the notice directly to the Upper Tribunal

You must notify the RDC that you wish to make an expedited reference and that you waive, and will not exercise, any rights under section 387(2) of FSMA (which include the right to make representations). The RDC will then issue a decision notice, subject to the interests of any third parties.

If you need more time to respond

If you need more time to make written representations, or to prepare to make oral representations, you should contact the DMC Secretariat before the deadline in the notice expires. You will need to explain why you need more time and how much more time you need. 

The DMC Secretariat will ask our Enforcement teams to provide comments on your request. The RDC Chair (or a Deputy Chair) will decide whether to give you more time. The Chair is unlikely to grant long extensions, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Making written representations

Your representations should respond to the facts and matters set out in the notice and set out your points clearly. They must be sent to the DMC Secretariat by the deadline. 

Our Enforcement teams will have an opportunity to respond to your written representations to the RDC. You will be sent a copy of their response. 

The RDC will consider your representations, and any response made by the Enforcement teams, when making its decision.

Representations meeting

This is a meeting between you (or your representatives), our Enforcement team and an RDC panel. The panel will normally comprise the Chair (or a Deputy Chair) plus two other members.

As well as those mentioned above, other people who may attend the meeting include:

  • the RDC's legal advisers
  • a case handler from the DMC Secretariat
  • other FCA staff

Before the meeting, you will be sent an agenda and information about the composition of the panel. 

At the meeting, your representations should normally last about an hour. If you need more time, you should ask before the meeting, explaining why.  

The meeting is your opportunity to explain your arguments against us taking or continuing the action set out in the notice. Legal or other professional representation can help you to cover the points that you want to make, structure what you want to say and answer any questions. You may also choose to bring someone, such as a friend, with you.

The RDC is not a court or a tribunal and there is no cross-examination. You cannot cross-examine our staff or call witnesses to give evidence. 

The RDC panel members may ask you questions. If you are unable to answer a question you should say so or, where appropriate, ask the Chair if you may respond in writing after the meeting. If the Chair permits this, you will be given a deadline to provide your written response. 

At the end of the meeting, the Chair will explain the next steps.

The RDC won’t normally make a decision on the day of the meeting, but will let you know when you may expect to hear the decision.

After the representations meeting

After the meeting, the RDC will consider your representations and decide what action to take. 

Any notice given will set out the action we have decided to take and will explain why the RDC has made that decision. If the RDC decides not to issue a decision notice, it will tell you in writing. 

Failing to respond to warning notices

If you don’t make representations on a warning notice or invoke the expedited reference procedure, the RDC may assume that the facts and matters set out in the notice are correct. It will nearly always give you a decision notice on that basis. 

This doesn't affect your right to take the matter to the Upper Tribunal. You must do this within 28 days of being given the decision notice.

It’s therefore important not to miss the deadline for making representations, if you wish to do so.

Receiving a decision notice

You can accept the decision set out in the decision notice, or you have the right to refer the matter to the Upper Tribunal, normally within 28 days. The notice will set out how to do this. 

If you don’t refer a decision notice to the Upper Tribunal within the 28-day deadline you will be given a final notice. 

A copy of the final notice will usually be published on our website.

Costs and compensation

You will not usually be entitled to any compensation or costs if we decide not to proceed with action against you.

However, if you believe that you may have a complaint about us and want more information about making a complaint, find out about our complaints scheme.

Third parties

In certain circumstances, we must give a copy of a statutory notice to someone other than the person it is issued to. This is when someone is identified in the notice and, in our opinion, it may be prejudicial to them. Such a person is known as a third party. The notice will normally state if there are any third parties. 

Third parties may also make representations to the RDC and refer a decision notice to the Upper Tribunal.

Publication of notices

In certain circumstances, details of a warning notice can be made public. 

If we intend to publish details of your warning notice, you’ll be provided with a copy of the proposed warning notice statement and given an opportunity to object and/or provide comments on its publication.

We may publish such information about the matter to which a decision notice or final notice relates as we consider appropriate. 

If you refer a decision notice to the Upper Tribunal, the facts and matters in the notice may be made public before your reference to the tribunal is concluded. You can object to early publication in relation to the decision notice and you will be provided with details about how to do this when you are given the notice.

Page updates

: Editorial amendment update to the if you need more time to respond section