Review into change and innovation in the unsecured credit market (the Woolard Review)

Information about our review of unsecured credit market regulation, chaired by Christopher Woolard.

In September 2020, the FCA Board asked Christopher Woolard to review change and innovation in the unsecured credit market and to report to them in early 2021.

The review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending, including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace. 

The review seeks the views of participants in this market including consumers, firms and their representatives. There will be opportunities to participate in roundtables and respond to a call for input (CFI). The CFI was published on 2 November 2020 and there are more details on the roundtables at the bottom of this page.

Scope of the review

The terms of reference for the review are: 

  • To examine the current state of the unsecured credit market in the UK including the component parts, recent changes in size and scale, whether in regulated or in adjacent unregulated products.
  • To examine changes in regulation, noting those areas that have been subject to regulatory oversight in recent years from a variety of bodies including the FCA (for example overdrafts or high cost credit), and comparing likely harms or dynamic effects seen in those areas.
  • To examine the immediate effect of coronavirus on demand for unsecured credit and on the role of credit information.
  • To report on possible trends and potential future pressures.
  • To identify areas of growth in demand from consumers for credit including from non-traditional providers of credit.
  • To present an assessment of the benefits and harms evident in the market and those that may be expected as the market develops.
  • To compare international approaches to these issues where relevant.
  • To make conclusions and recommendations to the FCA Board on management of harms in this sector; gaps in understanding or data; potential changes in regulation for the FCA to consider; advice on potential changes to the overall system the FCA may wish to consider with other authorities or the Government; and possible innovations to support a sustainable market.

Advisory panel

The work of the review will be supported by an advisory panel. This group of individuals will bring a variety of perspectives from firms and consumers to help shape the review.

We are delighted to confirm the following individuals are members of the advisory panel:

Member Profile
Phil Andrew CEO, StepChange
Steven Cooper

CEO, C Hoare and Co
Chair, Experian Limited
Interim Chair, Social Mobility Commission

Natasha de Teran

FCA Consumer Panel
Non-Resident Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace (FinCyber Programme)

Kirsty Good Head of Campaigns, PR and Social, MoneySavingExpert.com
Malcolm Le May CEO, Provident Financial Group Plc
Vim Maru FCA Practitioner Panel
CEO Retail Bank, Lloyds Banking Group
Rebecca Pearson Operations Director, Bupa Care Services
Marlene Shiels     FCA Smaller Business Practitioner Panel
CEO, Capital Credit Union
Caroline Siarkiewicz     CEO, The Money and Pensions Service
Helen Undy     Chief Executive, Money and Mental Health Institute
Kirsty Ward     Director, M&S Bank and Services
Therese Chambers

FCA Director, Retail and Regulatory Investigations
Leading FCA’s consumer credit priority

We will confirm additional members of the advisory panel in due course.

Roundtables

We will be holding three roundtable sessions during November 2020. Each session will focus on a particular theme and will give participants the opportunity to discuss trends and changes they are observing in the unsecured credit market.

All sessions will be held remotely, via MS Teams, and will be limited to 25 participants per session. 

Session Date
The drivers and use of credit 11 November 2020
9.30am to 11.30am
Change and innovation in the supply of credit 17 November 2020
9.30am to 11.30am
Role of regulation in the unsecured credit market 24 November 2020
10am to 12pm

If you’re interested in joining one of the sessions, please email [email protected] no later than 2 working days before the session you’d like to join.

This page will be updated with more information on the work of the review over the coming weeks. 

Page updates

02/11/2020: Information added advisory panel members' details
28/10/2020: Information added Members of advisory panel; roundtable dates