In its Business Plan for the 2019/20 financial year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says it has eight major priorities. Five of these are shorter term issues, which are:

  • Ensuring Brexit is implemented in a way that delivers on the regulator’s statutory objectives: maintaining market integrity, protecting consumers and encouraging effective competition – all this does of course assume that Brexit will indeed occur at some point during this financial year
  • Improving firms’ culture and governance, which encompasses the regulator applying the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to all authorised firms from December 9 2019, as well as scrutiny of firms’ remuneration practices
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of the practices firms use to ensure fair treatment of customers, with particular emphasis on the quality of information they provide to prospective and current customers, and on pricing practices
  • Further work on developing operational resilience at authorised firms – this mainly refers to cybersecurity and other technology-related issues
  • Making better use of technology and data to combat financial crimes such as money laundering and scams

Three longer term priorities are:

  • 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

Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive, said:

“Dealing with Brexit will be the most immediate challenge we face. But this plan also commits us to a stretching programme of work across the financial sector.

“In order to ensure we are a regulator that continues to serve the public interest, we need to adapt to the ever-changing environment. This is why the future of regulation is a key priority in this year’s Business Plan. We will be leading a debate about this with stakeholders so that we can keep pace with the developments taking place in the markets that we regulate and in wider society.”

Mr Bailey’s foreword to the Business Plan mentioned a number of additional issues, including:

  • Protection of vulnerable consumers, with specific reference to “proposed important changes to overdraft charges” and “those newly able to access their defined contribution pensions, who may be especially susceptible to unscrupulous or ill-advised investments”
  • The PPI deadline of August 29, and here he promises “a final burst of activity starting in early summer” in the FCA campaign to alert consumers to this deadline

The issues the FCA will focus on in specific market sectors includes:

  • Investment management – new requirements for asset managers; and a continued focus on stewardship
  • Retail lending – proposals to reform the overdraft market; initiatives examining possible substitutes for high cost credit; research into possible drivers of unaffordable lending; and the conclusion of work on retained Consumer Credit Act Provisions
  • Pensions – assessing competition in the non-workplace pensions market; improving firms’ practices in relation to defined benefit transfers; working with other organisations to ensure effective implementation of the pensions dashboard
  • Retail investment – an additional review of the suitability of advice firms are providing; analysing the impact of the Retail Distribution Review and Financial Advice Market Review; considering potential new rules for peer-to-peer lending firms
  • Retail banking – ensuring the Payment Services Directive and Open Banking are introduced securely; and promoting the PPI deadline
  • Insurance and protection – improving signposting and access to insurance for consumers
  • Wholesale markets – overseeing compliance with the Market Abuse Regulation; working with other organisations on a replacement for LIBOR; and monitoring compliance with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article