The strange thing about the Financial Services Authority is that it rarely catches anyone involved in hanky-panky, apart from a handful of cases of "market abuse", or insider trading.
There have been the great mis-selling drives, mostly punishing insurance companies that did what all the others were doing and in the case of personal pensions what the Government of the day urged them to do.
These campaigns do secure compensation for the victims - plus a good number who aren't victims at all, like people with endowment mortgages thrown off course by the same fall in interest rates that multiplied the value of their homes.
But a lot of the time, the regulator dishes out five and six-figure fines when nothing particularly dreadful has happened.
The offending outfit has not kept records the FSA expects it to keep, or failed to follow some prescribed procedure - but no actual harm has come of it.
Good thing, too, you may say. Better keep them on the straight and narrow than wait for a full-blown scandal with live victims - except that in real life the procedures degenerate into mindless box-ticking, regulation for regulation's sake.
You must bring a passport to prove your identity to open a new account at a branch where you have been banking for 30 years.
They know this at the FSA as well as anyone. So in their new business plan yesterday, the buzz-word is "risk-based". The idea is to identify activities and organisations where there is a genuine risk of something going wrong - then get after them before it does.
Hopefully everybody else can then be left alone.
That may be less easy than it sounds. Assessing these risks is quite clever stuff. But with £276 million budget the FSA should be able to afford it.
Equally to the point, if the FSA really means what it says, this is a new mindset for a regulator and a welcome one. John Tiner, the FSA's head honcho, says a lot of its policy work arises from Brussels.
Notorious mischief has arisen in the past from British civil servants "gold-plating" Euro directives, so that British laws implementing them are more onerous than the lighter touch preferred in most continental countries.
The new "risk-based" FSA claims to be aware of this and determined to do the opposite.
Just now it is poised to implement two directives (Markets in Financial Instruments and Capital Requirements) that affect Britain more than any other EU country because we have far and away the biggest capital markets. We have more to lose than any other country if we plate these in heavy-handed gold. Wondrously, the new-style FSA says it is determined to do the opposite.
Will Alan Greenspan curb Gordon Brown's "irrational exuberance" as he approaches the trickiest Budget of his Chancellorship? Don't bank on it.
Greenspan, Brown's new adviser, may have worked miracles in the States during his 18 years at the Fed. But his legacy is marred by a truly fearsome budget deficit. Brown can do without encouragement to do the same.