The Commission today launches a consultation paper on its proposals for increases in the 2016 licence fees paid by firms. The consultation period will close on the 17th September and a copy of the paper can be found here.
Other than in respect of anomalies, the Commission is proposing that fees for all sectors should be increased by an average of 1.6%.
Significantly, for the first time in its history, the Commission is proposing to return £50,000 to two industry sectors comprising financial penalties received from two specific enforcement cases where the Commission’s enforcement costs have been netted off leaving a surplus. This ‘rebate’ will be made via a reduction in the proposed fee increase for firms in the Banking and Fiduciary sectors.
Speaking about the proposed rebate, Director General William Mason said “Generally speaking, our enforcement activities as a whole operate at a considerable loss and there is not necessarily a legal requirement for us to rebate surpluses on a case by case basis. However, by adopting this rebate policy, we are seeking to make it clear that where income from financial penalties exceeds our related costs, we will not be seeking to use that surplus to subsidise other aspects of our work.”
With regard to anomalies, the Commission has identified areas within the Fiduciary and Insurance sectors where material anomalies in fee structures exist and the proposals in the consultation paper seek to address these. In some cases, the proposed changes will be phased in over two years.
Commission Chairman, Cees Schrauwers, said “The Commission’s previous commitment to increase fees by no more than 2% per annum over a three year period has been delivered. Now we are at the end of that period these proposals show that the Commission has no intention of losing its focus on strong cost control. It is our intention that future fee increases should be modest as the proposals set out in the fee consultation for 2016 demonstrate.”