Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chairman Charles Randell focussed on how his organisation was changing and adapting to a rapidly changing world when he addressed the regulator’s Public Meeting in July 2019.

Mr Randell first spoke of the conversations he has had with consumers, firms and politicians throughout the UK, and spoke of “the very central role financial services play in consumers’ everyday lives.”

He then referred to the publication of the FCA’s Mission document in 2017 and said this marked “a new phase” in financial regulation. He then explained how the Mission led to a renewed focus on consumer outcomes, by saying:
“The Mission reaffirmed consumer harm as the guiding principle of all our work, helping us prioritise in the face of a growing remit and an evolving demographic and economic landscape. In this context, we have been thinking about how we can meet our growing responsibilities with finite resources – how we can deliver the maximum public value. Part of this is reflecting on our past performance and considering what we can do differently to best deliver on our objectives.”

Mr Randell acknowledged that one of the most pressing issues was how the FCA addressed issues at the boundary of its remit, and some of the most well publicised issues in recent months have related to whether the FCA could and should have taken action, or whether the activities in question were in fact non-regulated.

The FCA chairman said he was concerned by “low levels of financial resilience, financial literacy and savings” amongst some consumer groups. He recognised that disadvantaged consumers were increasingly looking to the FCA to protect their interests, and commented:
“In this next phase of the FCA, our focus will be on transforming our capabilities, our use of technology and our regulatory framework to put us in the best position to deliver our objectives. In an uncertain, fast-changing world, the public look to us to provide more protection to consumers, and to provide it faster.”

Much of the FCA’s May 2019 Business Plan addressed the future of regulation, and the regulator said its long-term priorities included:
• Examining what the regulatory framework of the future might look like
• Ensuring innovation and the use of data work in consumers’ interests
• Looking at issues posed by the different requirements of different generations

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