The first permanent Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) Commissioner Unathi Kamlana wants to ensure, first and foremost, that the regulator is credible. He will start his five-year term on 1 June.
Since its formation on 1 April 2018, the FSCA has had a series of acting commissioners. This month, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni appointed Kamlana as FSCA Commissioner and Astrid Lundin as his deputy.
He is currently the head of the department responsible for prudential policy, stats and support at the Prudential Authority within the South African Reserve Bank.
Three major steps
Kamlana told Citywire South Africa during an interview that his first priority was to build a financial conduct regulator that was credible with both the financial sector and the public. Secondly, he would like to take the FSCA organisational capacity to a level where the institution can be ’a skilled and expert regulator’. He said that part of that priority included attracting skilled people.
Thirdly, he wants to modernise the regulator, including using technological and other tools to enhance the FSCA’s effectiveness and efficiency. Those three steps would allow for the FSCA to be an ‘effective and independent regulator’.
‘It is quite important to be seen as such, and for the FSCA to conduct itself consistently.’
Kamlana said that his appointment was an ‘exciting opportunity’.
‘I think the FSCA is an incredibly important institution in terms of Twin Peaks,’ he said. ‘I think getting it right would be an immense contribution, not just on my side, but I think broader public policy execution too.’
He said that he would like to get conduct risk managed appropriately. He wanted conduct issues, and consumer protection elevated to a very strategic level across the financial sector.
Kamlana said he applied for the position because he was part of designing the local Twin Peaks model of financial regulation. He added that getting the Prudential Authority and the FSCA work effectively was ‘quite important’.
‘I want to get the overall Twin Peaks to work effectively.’
Kamlana said he wanted to see the FSCA develop coherent financial sector conduct and consumer protection strategy.
‘Given the sheer number of financial institutions, you need to have a well-designed risk-based framework, which will be informed by market surveillance.’
He said that the FSCA needed to focus on the ‘big-ticket items’ because of its limited resources and so it could not attend to every single issue and financial service provider.
Digital and modernisation
The onset of Covid-19 resulted in financial institutions increasingly providing services and products to customers via digital channels.
‘That has a lot of implications for how the FSCA should conduct its supervision and regulation.’
In that regard, the FSCA had to invest in the suitable systems, people and processes that allow the organisation to deliver on those needs.
‘That would be the focus for two or three years. We should be very busy delivering on that,’ he said. ‘I think modernisation is going to be critical in terms of how the FSCA conducts its business.’
‘I’m quite aware that there some pain points that they [the FSCA] are dealing with. We will engage the public once we have engaged the FCSA and staff on what those issues are and what the approach to those issues should be.’
Kamlana said it was also critical for the FSCA to engage the sector about their expectations and experiences. He added that it was important for an organisation as large as the FSCA to work with ‘the players, the experts, and all those interested in the financial sector.’
This article was first published on Citywire, which provides insight and information for professional investors globally.