The latest data from the Financial Conduct Authority shows that the number of complaints about authorised firms fell by 26% between the first half of 2020 and the second half of the year, from 2,960,000 to 2,160,000.
Citizens Advice has revealed its concerns over the number of people using ‘buy now pay later’ arrangements, especially those from vulnerable groups. Its research shows that 27% of UK adults have used a BNPL arrangement in the last 12 months, but this rises to 37% of disabled people and 45% of those with a mental health problem, as well as 45% of people in the 18 to 34 age group. Half of the customers in this younger age group said that they had unwittingly signed up to a BNPL arrangement when they never intended to do so. The average repayment under a BNPL arrangement is said to be £63 per month.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority, spoke on March 31 this year about ‘Compliance, Culture and Evolving Regulatory Expectations.’
The Financial Conduct Authority has publicly censured a Lloyds of London wholesale insurance and re-insurance broker and has also reached an agreement with the firm under which the London-based firm will pay £399,902 to disadvantaged customers. Had it not been for the evidence showing that the firm was experiencing financial hardship, it would also have been fined £958,100, or £670,600 with the 30% discount for early settlement being applied.
Nausicaa Delfas will be the new interim chief executive and interim chief ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Next month, Ms Delfas will leave the Financial Conduct Authority, where she is currently chief operating officer and head of international affairs. At the FCA, she was closely involved in the commencement of consumer credit regulation in 2014, and more recently, she has overseen the Brexit transition process.
The Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement highlighting some issues relating to the way claims management companies handle complaints relating to high-cost lending. Complaints about many areas of consumer credit have risen sharply in recent months, and one of the possible reasons for this is increased CMC activity in this area.
The Financial Conduct Authority has once again acted to ban an individual as a result of misconduct which was not related to his role in financial services. The Surrey-based independent financial adviser will be banned from carrying out any regulated activity, unless he is successful in his appeal to the Upper Tribunal. He is currently the sole director of his firm and holds the SMF3 (Executive Director), SMF16 (Compliance Oversight) and SMF17 (Money Laundering Reporting Officer) roles.
FCA reminds firms of their continuing obligations as mortgage payment deferral application period ends
The March 31 deadline for applying for a payment holiday on a mortgage, loan or other arrangement under the Financial Conduct Authority’s Covid-19 special measures has now passed. However, the FCA wishes to stress to firms that they still have an obligation to provide what it calls ‘tailored support’ to anyone who has been financially affected by coronavirus and who continues to require assistance with their repayment schedule.
A major doorstep lender has announced that it is under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority, with the regulator’s major area of concern said to centre around the firm’s affordability checks. It is reported that the regulator’s investigation is unlikely to conclude until early next year.
Although the Financial Conduct Authority will not assume responsibility for regulation of pre-paid funeral plans until July 29 2022, it has already commenced its consultation on how it will regulate the sector.