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See Scott Robert’s regulatory roundup for the second half of April:
- The FCA is consulting on its periodic fees for the next financial year. Within the paper CP21/8 the FCA are proposing to introduce a periodic fee on Principal firms who retain ARs/IARs:
The FCA is consulting on changes to periodic fees for the next financial year. The paper contains the FCA’s costs and how it expects to cover them with various levies and price changes. One notable new levy is the FCA’s proposal to charge £250 per annum on a Principal firm per Appointed Representative (AR) and Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) retained. Firms who operate with many ARs or IARs may wish to provide responses to the paper found here. Furthermore, Funeral Plan firms have their application fees explained within the paper, Scott Robert has provided a helpful summary article on incoming Funeral Plan regulation found here.
- The FCA’s Executive Director of Consumers & Competition Sheldon Mills, delivered a speech on ‘Why Black inclusion matters to us’:
Sheldon Mills delivered a speech about the lack of diversity in senior roles in the financial sector. The FCA argues ‘there is a strong business case for improving diversity and inclusion at senior levels’ as a more diverse board or management team creates further diversity in workforce which in turn creates better outcomes for customers. The FCA highlights BAME customers are disproportionately represented in vulnerable customer statistics and a method to rectify this is encourage more diverse workforces who will be able to relate better to the customer’s needs. The FCA has made it clear it will consider greater diversity and inclusion as important and will look at firms to take action now. The full speech can be found here.
- The Advertising Standards Agency and the Committees of Advertising Practice have published its annual report for 2020:
The ASA and CAP have released a report including their findings on general advertising practice in the UK for the year of 2020. A significant find is, due to technology advances, the ASA has been able to review far more advertising material than in the past. A record increase of 346% of advertisements had to be withdrawn or amended from the previous year, this totalled 36,000 advertisements. This signifies higher capability by the regulator to monitor more advertisements. If your firm regularly breaches the CAP code you may put your FCA authorisation at risk, speak to Scott Robert today for assistance. The full report can be viewed here.
- A High Court judgement on Jackson v Ayles & Ors  helps clarify the ‘by way of business’ test:
In the court case Jackson v Ayles & Ors Chief ICC Judge Briggs clarified ways an individual’s action could be considered as ‘by way of business’. To summarise an action is by way of business when, the relationship arose out of commercial dealings, the activity was not built on trust between the parties, the activity is repeated and not isolated in occasion, the activity was done with multiple parties on different occasions in similar circumstances, and the activity was done in expectation of remuneration in excess of typical market rates. If a firm’s activity or communication has any of these characteristics it is likely to be ‘by way of business’. This ruling could assist firms in determining whether their actions or communications require FCA authorisation. The full court ruling can be found here.
- Chris Randell the Chair of the FCA & PSR gave a speech on ‘Cautious optimism for the post-pandemic world’:
Chris Randell has delivered a speech on his vision of a post-pandemic world for the finance sector and the FCA. The speech took on themes such as optimism, transformation of the FCA, and the FCA acting as the ‘gateway’ of the finance sector. The FCA has reiterated its focus on outcomes for itself and the firms it regulates, for example, ‘firms must identify customers trapped in a cycle of unaffordable debt and take action to break that cycle’. The FCA recognises for the future it must look at reshaping itself to continue being an effective regulator. For the speech in full see here.
- FCA has delayed its Business Plan to July 2021:
The FCA has released a statement that is has delayed its anticipated business plan to July 2021. No further information has been disclosed by the FCA as to why it has opted to delay the plan by three months.
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