FCA data strategy helping fraud crackdown

24th June 2022

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is using state-of-the-art analytics to scan 100,000 websites a day in a crackdown on scams and fraud. Although the watchdog cannot remove fraudulent sites, it has added almost 2,000 possible scams to its consumer warning list since May 2021- up a third more than during the same time the previous year.

As part of the strategy the FCA identifies fraudulent websites, it is proactive in requesting the website host shut them down, though it does not have the powers to force them to. Between May 2021 and April 2022, the FCA added 1,966 possible scams to its consumer warning list – over a third more than during the same period the previous year.

This action forms part of an update on the FCA’s data strategy showing the progress it has made in improving its use of data and its plans to identify and prevent harm sooner.

  • The FCA plans to invest heavily in its use of data in 2022/23, recruiting a significant number of skilled roles, across Artificial Intelligence, analytics and data science as well as cloud engineering and digital technology, adding to the 100 it has recruited since 2020. The additional recruits will be responsible for a range of data and digital initiatives, including improving the quality of the data the FCA collects.
  • The FCA is using advanced analytics and new sources of data to identify inappropriate financial adverts. Last year 564 adverts were withdrawn or amended, double the number compared to previous years.
  • Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the FCA has developed and implemented a sanctions screening tool to support the monitoring of the effectiveness of a firm’s controls in identifying organisations or individuals that have been sanctioned.  This has been vital in supporting the FCA’s ongoing work with domestic and international partners in response to the war in Ukraine.
  • The FCA will provide its staff with a dashboard for all the financial companies it regulates and sectors it oversees. This will make it easier to identify and focus on the highest risk cases.

The data strategy underpins the FCA’s recent three-year strategy to reduce and prevent serious harm, set higher standards and promote competition.

Jessica Rusu, Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer, said “Better use of data means we can be more proactive and find and stop harm faster. We are continuing to improve our data, technology and capabilities to act decisively in consumers interests, while making it easier for firms to report to us.”