The enforcement powers of the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, the country’s financial regulator, will be merged with other prosecutors to form a white-collar crime agency.
The FSA’s prosecutorial power will be combined with those of the Serious Fraud Office and the Office of Fair Trading to create an economic crime agency, according to the text of an agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties setting up their coalition government.
The FSA was created by the former Labor government in 1997 and the Conservatives vowed before the May 6 election to carve up the agency’s powers, handing lender supervision back to the Bank of England. While the failure of Prime Minister David Cameron’s party to win an outright majority gave the FSA a stay of execution, the move announced Thursday amputates one of its most prominent divisions.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told reporters in London on Thursday that the government is discussing how financial regulation will be undertaken.
“We take white-collar crime as seriously as other crime, so we will create a single agency to take on the work of tackling serious economic crime that is currently done by, among others, the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Services Authority and the Office of Fair Trading,” according to the agreement.
Kasia Reardon, a spokeswoman for the OFT, which is an antitrust and consumer protection agency, declined to comment. A spokesman for the SFO, which handles fraud and corruption crimes, said he couldn’t immediately comment.
“We will engage with government to ensure effective implementation of their policy while seeking to ensure that the current strong momentum of enforcement work — which underpins our credible deterrence agenda — is maintained,” the FSA said in a statement.