The Financial Conduct Authority has set out the key areas of work it will undertake in the forthcoming financial year with the publication of its Business Plan for 2015/16. It also confirmed the creation of two new Divisions that would be responsible for the FCA’s supervisory and authorisations work.
Commenting on the Business Plan, Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the FCA, said:
"This is an important day in terms of setting out our priorities for the year ahead and also giving firms greater clarity on how they can expect to work with us.
"The Business Plan is set against the backdrop of the most fundamental changes to pension policy we have seen in over a generation. Therefore we will be looking at how the market is working and in particular, how the industry is adapting to this considerable change and what it means for consumers. This is exactly the sort of work that is expected of the FCA, and I believe is a fundamental benefit to consumers and industry."
Alongside the Business Plan, the FCA set out details of the two divisions that would undertake its supervisory and authorisations work, with each led by a director who will sit on the Executive Committee.
Supervision Investment, Wholesale and Specialists will be led by Tracey McDermott. Linda Woodall will head up the Retail and Authorisations division as acting Director.
The integration of supervision and authorisation was announced as part of the new FCA strategy in December 2014.
Business Plan 2015/16
The Business Plan set out the areas the FCA will be working on in the coming year:
- to examine whether the sales practices of pension providers have improved since the 2014 review into annuities sales
- to look at how firms were helping consumers make the right choice in relation to their pension given the options soon to be available to people as part of the Government’s pensions reforms
- to look at how the mortgage market is working, in particular any barriers to competition and the ability of consumers to switch provider or access credit
- to implement and review the consumer credit regime and the firms and practices within the sector
- to take forward the announced wholesale market study into competition in investment and corporate banking
- to monitor developments in technology and how that affects firms and consumers, including a market study on the use of Big Data in the insurance market
- to contribute to international benchmark reform
- to work with firms preparing for the implementation of MiFID II and the Market Abuse Regulation updates
- to launch a market study on asset management that will examine charges paid by investors and what drives those charges
- from April, powers to enforce against unlawful anti-competitive behaviour in the financial services industry concurrent with the Competition and Markets Authority come into effect
This year’s Business Plan also included the FCA’s Risk Outlook which sets out the top seven high-level risks the financial services sector should consider in the coming years.
The FCA will continue to look at:
- technology developments and its impact on firms’ investment, consumers and regulators
- how poor culture and control continues to threaten market integrity
- impact of large back-books on how firms deal with existing customers
- consumer outcomes for pensions and retirement income products
Specifically on consumer credit and complex terms and conditions the FCA will monitor:
- poor culture and practice in consumer credit affordability assessments that could result in unaffordable debt
- impact of the Consumer Rights Act coming into force in the autumn
There is one new area of forward looking focus:
- firms’ systems and controls in relation to financial crime
Notes to editors
- FCA Business Plan for 2015/16.
- On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
- The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
- Find out more information about the FCA.