Enforcement Decision Making Committee: 2022/23 Report

This Enforcement Decision Making Committee (EDMC) annual report covers the period of 1 March 2022 to 28 February 2023
Published on 06 July 2023


This is the fourth report of the Enforcement Decision Making Committee (EDMC) of the Bank of England (the Bank), covering the period of 1 March 2022 to 28 February 2023. Earlier reports are available on our website. The EDMC works to strengthen the Bank’s enforcement processes by ensuring a functional separation in contested enforcement cases between investigation teams and executive on the one hand, and decision makers on the other. The essence of the system is that decisions are taken by the EDMC independently.

The procedures of the EDMC are as published in 2018. The process is designed to operate fairly and transparently, providing for disclosure of relevant material to the subject of an investigation, and allowing for written and oral representations by both the subject and the Enforcement & Litigation Division of the Bank. It is in effect the final stage of administrative decision-making by the Bank in contested enforcement cases. The subject has the right to refer the matter to the Upper Tribunal (which is part of the Court system) and which considers the matter afresh.

Since the end of the Covid-19 restrictions, the quarterly meetings of the EDMC and panel meetings for contested cases have taken place in person, hybrid, and remotely. It seems likely going forward that meetings will continue to include each of these formats, each of which can be useful, and this will be in the interests of efficiency as well as fairness.

During the reporting period, the EDMC dealt with a case involving a number of investigations. There were no cases ongoing at the time of this report.

As noted in the previous annual reports, there is an established process by which the EDMC, through the secretariat, conducts a review of settled cases, in line with recommendations for such a review by HM Treasury and with the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) public commitment in that regard. The parties and their legal representatives who have participated in settlement discussions are invited to comment should they wish to do so. Such a review has now taken place in respect of two settled cases. Following the review, the EDMC is not proposing any recommendations.

An essential part of our functioning is the administrative support given by the secretariat, and the legal support given by the independent legal adviser appointed from within the Bank’s Legal Directorate. While the number of contested cases is unpredictable, and in future the number may remain relatively low, individual cases can involve a considerable workload for those involved. The resourcing which has been made available to the Committee is currently sufficient in this regard.

Sir William Blair

Chair, Enforcement Decision Making Committee

1. Overview

1.1 The EDMC is a committee of the Bank. It was established by the Bank’s Court of Directors (Court) in August 2018 to help the Bank discharge its responsibilities and strengthen its enforcement processes by ensuring a functional separation between the Bank’s investigation teams and the Bank’s decision makers in contested enforcement cases.footnote [1]

1.2 The EDMC acts within the statutory regimes operated by the Bank for: (i) prudential regulation; (ii) financial market infrastructure (FMI); and (iii) resolution. The EDMC will also act in Scottish and Northern Ireland (S&NI) Banknote Regime enforcement cases, pursuant to the relevant policy.

1.3 The EDMC’s published procedures require it to submit an annual statement to the Court, with a copy also provided to the Prudential Regulation Committee (PRC), which will then be published, to report on at least the following:

  • how often the EDMC has met and which members have sat in which matters;
  • resourcing, recruitment, and profile;
  • costs incurred;
  • the number of matters brought to the EDMC from the PRA, FMI, and Resolution, and in respect of the S&NI banknote regime, respectively;
  • number of statutory notices respectively dealt with;
  • whether the EDMC’s decisions have been subject to subsequent successful challenge;
  • situations where a member was unable to hear a matter because of an actual or perceived conflict;
  • any other matters which Court considers relevant to the operation of the EDMC and of which it informs the Chair; and
  • any other matters which the EDMC feels it needs to bring to Court's attention.

1.4 This document sets out the report for the period from 1 March 2022 to 28 February 2023. The Annex deals specifically with each item listed in paragraph 1.3.

2. Membership

2.1 The EDMC members are appointed for renewable, fixed three-year periods. The EDMC comprises six members, with two legally qualified members appointed as Chair and Deputy Chair, in line with its procedures.

2.2 The members’ terms were renewed in 2021 for a second term which is currently due to end in July 2024. No other changes to the committee’s membership have been made during the period covered by this report.

2.3 The EDMC has the following members:

  • Sir William Blair (Chair)
  • Dr Philip Marsden (Deputy Chair)
  • Kishwer Falkner, Baroness Falkner of Margravine
  • Anne Heal
  • Mark Hoban
  • Edward Sparrow.

3. Cases

3.1 The EDMC Chair convenes panels of at least three members to hear cases. Panels are supported by a secretariat function to provide administrative support and legal advisers from (or appointed by) the Bank’s Legal Directorate. The legal advisers are independent from the Bank’s investigation teams.

3.2 As announced on 26 August 2022, during the reporting period, the EDMC and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) reviewed the matters under investigation in a case relating to certain former senior managers at HBOS plc. The EDMC and RDC concluded that no enforcement action should be taken in that case and the investigations were therefore closed.

3.3 There have been no other cases during the reporting period.

3.4 The EDMC Procedures set out how the EDMC takes decisions.

4. Upper Tribunal proceedings

4.1 The subject of a decision by the EDMC has the right to refer the case to the Upper Tribunal (which is part of the Court system). These proceedings are not a matter for the EDMC; the relevant team within the PRA deals with the matter on behalf of the Bank. The Upper Tribunal considers the matter afresh, in other words it reaches its own determination on the matter and may hear such evidence as it thinks fit in order to do so.

4.2 In the reporting period, there have been no decision notices referred to the Upper Tribunal.

5. General matters

Non-case specific meetings

5.1 In addition to the EDMC’s work on specific cases, it has met as a committee on three occasions to discuss matters of broader interest to work it carries out. These matters included relevant regulatory frameworks, engagement with the Bank’s Legal Directorate, and administrative matters. Further such meetings are scheduled during 2023.

Conflicts of interest

5.2 Members are to declare actual or potential conflicts of interest prior to appointment, and any that arise after appointment. These are declared to the EDMC Chair and/or the Bank’s Conflicts Officer, who then take any appropriate action necessary to manage such actual and/or potential conflicts. During the period covered by this report, no situation has arisen where a member has been unable to hear a matter because of a conflict.

Other matters

5.3 The EDMC has mirrored the arrangements already in place between the Financial Services Lawyers Association (FSLA) and the FCA, which seek to match up unrepresented subjects of regulatory disciplinary proceedings with pro bono legal support.

6. Review of the enforcement settlement process

6.1 In October 2019, the PRA’s updated Statement of Policy (SoP) on its approach to enforcement gave the EDMC responsibility for conducting periodic reviews of settled enforcement cases, to assess the ongoing fairness and effectiveness of the PRA’s settlement processes. As part of these reviews, the EDMC seeks comments from subjects who have settled PRA enforcement cases, relevant enforcement staff, and relevant PRA decisionmakers involved in settlement. The outcome of each review is reported to the PRC and a summary of the review is (if appropriate) included in the next EDMC annual report.

6.2 During the 2022/23 reporting period, the EDMC sought feedback on two cases. Given the small number of cases reviewed, the EDMC has been cautious in its approach to drawing conclusions. However, there were some resulting learnings, which have been passed on to the relevant PRA enforcement officers and to the PRC. Overall, the feedback did not raise any material issues and the EDMC did not make any recommendations to the PRC.

7. Looking forward – the next 12 months

7.1 During the reporting period, the EDMC followed the passage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill 2022 which proposes a number of new enforcement powers for the Bank. The implementation of those new powers will be a focus for the EDMC in the next 12 months.

7.2 On 4 May 2023, the Bank published a consultation proposing various amendments to enforcement policies. These include a number of amendments and clarifications to the EDMC Procedures in light of the practical experience of the EDMC in dealing with cases. Over the next 12 months, the EDMC will engage with the relevant consultation responses.

Annex: Report summary

As noted, the procedures document lists points on which the EDMC must report. These are set out in the table below.

Matters on which the EDMC must report

EDMC report

How often the Committee has met and which members have sat in which matters

The EDMC met on 23 occasions between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2023. This includes general meetings of the whole committee, and meetings of the EDMC panel with respect to any matters the EDMC was considering. These meetings have taken place both remotely, via videoconference, and in person.

Resourcing, recruitment, and profile

There are six EDMC members. They were all appointed when the EDMC was established in August 2018. The EDMC members’ current membership terms will end in July 2024.

The EDMC members are:

  • Sir William Blair (Chair)
  • Dr Philip Marsden (Deputy Chair)
  • Baroness Kishwer Falkner
  • Anne Heal
  • Mark Hoban
  • Edward Sparrow.

The EDMC is supported by a secretariat and independent legal advisers from the Bank’s Legal Directorate.

Costs incurred

Over the period covered by this report, EDMC members have incurred total costs of £126,684.00. These costs are met by the Bank of England. These costs can be broken down by cases as follows:

Cases: £111,906.00 total reimbursement for all panel members for cases heard during the reporting period.

General costs: £6,150.00 total reimbursement for all members.

Other costs: £8,628.00

The Bank has also provided legal advisors and secretarial support.

Number of matters brought to it from the PRA, FMI, and Resolution, and in respect of the S&NI banknote regime, respectively

No new matters have been brought to the EDMC in this reporting period.

Number of statutory notices respectively dealt with

No statutory notices have been issued during the reporting period.

Whether EDMC decisions have been subject to subsequent successful challenge

No such situations.

Situations where a member was unable to hear a matter because of an actual or perceived conflict

No such situations

Any other matters which Court considers relevant to the operation of the committee and of which it informs the EDMC Chair

No other matters

Any other matters on which the Committee feels it needs to bring to Court's attention

No other matters

  1. For further information, please see ‘Procedures - The Enforcement Decision Making Committee’.