In the second year of its 3-year strategy, the FCA plans to accelerate 4 areas of its work over the next 12 months through further investment and increased resources.
Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the FCA, said: 'We set out a bold vision last year of what we wanted the FCA to be, and we are well underway to achieving our objectives thanks to our talented colleagues and the better use of technology and data across our organisation.
'With many consumers across the UK struggling with the cost of living and markets events causing concern, we have put in place vital changes over the past few years which mean we’re better set up to face these challenges.'
The FCA’s strategy is designed to be flexible and with the changing economic picture, the FCA is accelerating its work in 4 areas over the next year through further investment and increased resources.
Putting Consumers’ needs first
Last year, the FCA moved quickly to support people with the rising cost of living. It reminded 3,500 lenders of how they should be supporting borrowers in financial difficulty and told 32 lenders to make changes to the way they treat customers - leading to £29m being secured in compensation to their customers. The FCA will continue to prioritise protecting people from unfair treatment, with more staff being allocated to ensure firms support consumers who are struggling financially.
In July, the Consumer Duty will come into force. The Duty will play a leading role in meeting the FCA’s objective of putting consumers’ needs first. The FCA has committed to providing additional resource to make sure the transition is smooth for both consumers and firms. Setting higher and clearer standards of consumer protection will not only benefit consumers. The FCA aims to use the Duty to encourage more innovation and competition, as it could lead to a more simplified approach to regulation.
Preparing financial services for the future
The FCA will continue its urgent work with its partners and deliver the outcomes of the new Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) and Edinburgh Reforms. More than £12m will be invested to prepare for the FRF, which will help support the UK’s wider economic growth and international competitiveness, in line with the FCA’s new secondary objective.
The FCA will continue to support innovative and high growth firms, including through its world-leading Sandbox and its Early and High Growth Oversight function.
New cost benefit analysis panels will also be established to support the effectiveness of the FCA’s programme of work.
Strengthening the UK’s position in global wholesale markets
To make the UK a more attractive place for business, the FCA will set out further proposals to reform the listing regime to attract world leading firms and encourage competition.
The FCA wants to use the opportunity provided by the FRF to see if improvements can be made to asset management regulation. The FCA is already seeking views and will bring forward proposals, based on the feedback it receives, later this year.
As part of the Edinburgh Reforms, the FCA will consult this year on consolidated tapes, which could improve the overall cost, quality and accessibility of wholesale data. Consolidated tapes take data from across the wholesale market and distributes it in single, standardised feeds.
Reducing and preventing financial crime
The FCA continues to look for innovative ways of reducing and preventing financial crime, as it harms confidence and integrity in the UK’s market and puts consumers’ money at risk. This includes a strengthened authorisation process, improved assessments of regulated firms and more staff to investigate and prosecute offenders.
Alongside this, the FCA continues to develop tools to find scam sites. It is already using machine learning and other tools to find and remove scams, with hundreds of websites taken down as a result and more than 1800 alerts being issued during 2022.
Much of the work to deliver on its commitments is well underway and the FCA wants to prioritise its work to bring the most benefits to consumers, firms and the wider economy. Later this year, the FCA will publish the first set of results against the outcomes and performance metrics included in its strategy.
The FCA has also published the consultation on its fees and levies for the year ahead. In recognition of the pressure firms are under, the FCA is proposing to freeze application fees, and the minimum fees firms pay which affects more than 17,000 FCA-regulated firms.