The FCA has released its business plan for the year ahead, setting out its business priorities. Understandably, its most immediate priority will be responding to the challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In regard to coronavirus, the FCA’s focus will be on ensuring:
- that financial services businesses give people the support they need
- that people avoid scams, and
- that financial services businesses and markets know what is expected of them
The business plan for 2020/21 also sets out four key areas in which it aims to address continuing harm. These aim to ensure that consumers:
- can rely on safe and accessible payments to receive their pay or benefits, settle bills and access cash
- do not get into unaffordable debt and, if they do, are treated well
- can make effective investment decisions about their savings, and are not exposed to risky or poor value products
- are offered fair value products in a digital age and are not at risk of being treated unfairly in the pricing and other terms they receive
The regulator is planning to focus on transforming its operations, including:
- the data it collects
- how it analyses, manages and shares intelligence across the organisation, and
- how it decides which firms and individuals can operate
It will also, “look at how firms are supervised, and how unacceptable firms and individuals are stopped and removed from the regulated sector as quickly as possible.”
The longer-term implications of the coronavirus outbreak will become clearer in time and FCA will review its plans accordingly and provide updates as appropriate.
Interim Chief Executive of the FCA, Christopher Woolard, has said: “In a matter of weeks, coronavirus has altered the UK’s financial landscape dramatically. At times like this it is more important than ever that the FCA leads the way on the protection of consumers, firms and the markets. Our Business Plan recognises the impact of coronavirus on the financial services industry, while looking forward at how we transform the FCA’s operations in future.”
Part of the FCA’s priorities for year ahead includes work that will cut across all sectors of financial services. These are:
- EU withdrawal and wider international work
- Climate change
- Innovation and technology
- Operational resilience
- Financial crime
- Culture in financial services
The business plan 2020/21 also outlines the key outcomes the FCA wants to achieve in the general insurance sector, which are:
- That customers can take out GI and protection products and services that are suitable for their needs and deliver on their promises at the time of claim.
- That customers are not unfairly excluded from GI and protection products and services.
- That customers get high-quality, fair value GI and protection products and services which deliver on what is intended at the time of claim.
- That the GI and protection sector is operationally resilient and supplies important products and services with minimal disruption to customers and markets.
However, the timing and scope of the delivery of these outcomes is under review due to coronavirus and will continue to be reviewed as the situation develops.
Click here to read the business plan in full.
The FCA has a section dedicated to coronavirus on its website: https://www.fca.org.uk/coronavirus