The chairman of UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), John Griffith-Jones, has commented on small business grievances against banks in a speech at the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Griffith-Jones said that the FCA’s ‘overriding strategic objective’ was to ensure that markets work well by protecting consumers, promoting competition and enhancing integrity.

 “The question of the perimeter, what firms, what transactions and which products or services are covered by regulation has proved more problematic than you might have expected… many small businesses feel aggrieved that they are not better protected from some of the actions of their banks, in part because they are excluded from the ombudsman's regime,” said Griffith-Jones.

Elsewhere, Griffith-Jones said that the regulator, while supporting government policy, should not be ‘passive’: “…the FCA is perfectly capable and willing, to draw government's attention to the consequences of policy change.”

The speech comes three weeks after FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said that the UK does not have an “adequate” complaint resolution mechanism for SMEs dealing with banks.

Griffith-Jones continued by saying that it was good for the regulator to ‘keep up and cope with change.’

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“The FCA is seeking to embrace technical developments through its Project Innovate and Sandbox initiatives. We have come to realise that the more detailed regulation that we have the greater is the challenge of keeping it all current,” said Griffith-Jones.