Market insights - FCA round-up
Here are some of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) focus areas and hot topics of 2018.
FCA Business Plan 2018/19
Unsurprisingly the FCA’s assistance with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU dominates their 2018/19 Business Plan. Work relating to Brexit will include providing technical advice, converting existing EU legislation into UK law and advising the Treasury on the impact to the financial services industry.
In addition to Brexit, the FCA Sector Priorities are:
- Treatment of existing customers
- General insurance and protection
- Financial crime and anti-money laundering
- Innovation, big data, technology and competition.
Read more: FCA Business Plan – 2018 update
FCA discussion paper on transforming culture
The FCA discussion paper “Transforming Culture in Financial Services” published in March 2018 hopes to encourage further debate on what constitutes, and how to promote, a healthy culture in this sector.
The FCA has confirmed that it will continue to engage with external financial services to gather practical examples of how the insights from the paper can be applied in practice.
Read more: FCA discussion paper on transforming culture
FCA consultation on SME access to Ombudsman
The proposed changes set out in the FCA’s consultation on SME access to Ombudsman will allow a broader range of businesses to refer complaints to the Ombudsman. The intention is that this will at least in part address concerns raised by SMEs in relation to the significant cost of litigation denying them access to justice where they are not currently eligible to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.
The consultation period ended on 22 April 2018 and the FCA have committed to publish their final rules in 2018.
Read more: SMEs as users of financial services
The rise of price regulators
More price regulation by the FCA is on the horizon. In the UK, the price of financial products has historically been set by market forces rather than by regulation. Since 2014 the FCA has intervened on pricing in a limited number of areas, but that has been the exception rather than the rule.
This is set to change with the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 requiring the FCA to protect consumers against “excessive charges” by claims management companies. The FCA is also carrying out a further review of ‘high-cost credit’, including overdrafts, and on 31 May 2018 it published a consultation on price intervention.
Contacts: Reuben Berg