Dube Tshidi & The FSCA: Captured Regulator?

Open Secrets: Unaccountable
Dube Tshidi & The FSCA: Captured Regulator?.png

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) succeeded the Financial Services Board (FSB) and came into operation as South Africa’s regulator of financial corporations in April 2018. Its success is vital for the public interest, and it already finds itself at the centre of much controversy and public pressure related to high profile cases involving alleged major cases of economic crime.

These investigations, signs of green shoots at the FSCA, include its investigation of Markus Jooste’s alleged insider trading at Steinhoff and its public raid of Sekunjalo – the controversial company linked to Iqbal Survé, who is now threatening to sue the regulator. There is also its ongoing legal battle against the public protector who made adverse findings regarding the conduct of FSB head Dube Tshidi in a separate matter regarding the appointment of curators to pension funds.

While politicians with skin in the game are using these cases to attack the regulator for partisan political gain, it is easy to lose sight of a defining scandal of the FSCA’s predecessor, the FSB, and its then-chief executive Tshidi. Tshidi and the FSB oversaw the cancellation of thousands of pension funds, many in error, putting many vulnerable pensioners at risk. They have never been held to account for these failures.

The failure to thoroughly investigate and address these failures, or to hold the FSCA’s leadership accountable, haunts an institution which plays a crucial role guarding the public interest. The transition from the FSB to the FSCA is part of Treasury’s much-touted “twin-peaks” approach to financial sector regulation which includes the FSCA as a dedicated “market conduct regulator” to hold corporations accountable for their conduct. The success of the FSCA is essential in ensuring accountability for corporations that abuse their power for profit. Yet this will require a fundamental break from its predecessor’s haphazard approach to regulation.

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