The Financial Conduct Authoritys board has published the protocol for the independent investigation into how the regulator leaked details of a planned insurance review to the national press.
The March debacle caused share values in top insurance firms to fall sharply, igniting speculation that changes would affect the profitability of their products. The FCA subsequently appointed Simon Davis, partner at the law firm Clifford Chance, to conduct an independent inquiry into the handling of the FCA's announcement.
In a statement released today, the regulator said: 'Following discussions with Simon Davis, HM Treasury and the chairman of the Treasury select committee, the non-executive directors have today published the protocol, which sets out the procedures under which the inquiry is to be carried out, and an updated terms of reference.'
It confirmed that the inquiry was now underway.
Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee, said, today's announcement was a welcomed step. The senior MP noted that the credibility and integrity of the regulator was at stake.
'So it is essential that this investigation is and is seen to be, both comprehensive and completely independent,' he said.
'On the need for the inquiry to be comprehensive, the terms of reference clarify that Mr Davis "can examine any other matters he might reasonably consider relevant and make such recommendations as he sees fit".
'It is crucial - now that the FCA's non-executive directors have commissioned this inquiry - that neither they nor the board play any further role until Mr Davis has completed his final report.'
Tyrie said the Treasury committee would take evidence from Davis when his report is published.
A Treasury committee spokesman told The Actuary that it was unknown how long the investigation into the FCA's blunder would last.
Shortly after the incident, FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley admitted that the leaking of the information was not the watchdog's 'finest hour'.
He said: 'Whenever markets move, as they did on [March 28], scrutiny rightly follows and this is no different for the FCA.
'This was clearly not the FCA's finest hour but does serve as a timely reminder of the importance to all parties involved of the care and thought that is needed when handling the significant amounts of information we hold as part of going about our day-to-day business.'