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The UK’s financial watchdog has set out its to-do list for the next financial year, with Brexit and vulnerable consumers topping its priorities.
Both themes are part of the Financial Conduct Authority’s “business plan” published on Tuesday. It also published a 39-page mission statement that is meant to “future-proof” the watchdog and draw a line under “a very sorry history” of City financial scandals and subsequent blockbuster fines.
In the statement, the FCA pledges to be a bolder and more transparent regulator.
Other key areas of focus over the next 12 months included preparing consumers for the 2019 deadline to claim compensation on mis-sold payment protection insurance (compensation so far has topped £26bn, making it the UK’s costliest mis-selling scandal), continuing its work on payday lenders and high-cost credit, and “considering the issue of long term savings and retirement outcomes.”
But unsurprisingly, the FCA has made preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU its top priority, and in particular supporting the government with its Brexit plans.
“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union creates uncertainty for both the UK’s financial industry and the FCA”, Andrew Bailey, the FCA’s chief executive, said in his introduction to the business plan, adding:
Both we and the Government are keen to ensure that the financial services industry remains resilient and well placed to meet users’ needs and thus make the most of opportunities in a post-Brexit world.
Leaving the EU inevitably creates a higher risk of disruption to our Business Plan priorities. So it is particularly important that we retain the flexibility to respond swiftly should we need to review them further.
Earlier this month, the FCA’s sister regulator at the Bank of England put financial firms on notice that they needed to do more to plan for a “no deal” Brexit and gave them a July deadline to get their houses in order.