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FCA’s three-step approach to the future

FCA’s three-step approach to the future

The financial services sector needs to follow three key steps in order to secure its future, according to Martin Wheatley, chief executive at the FCA. The first step is a change of culture in the financial boardrooms.

The financial services sector needs to follow three key steps in order to secure its future, according to Martin Wheatley, chief executive at the FCA, starting with a change of culture in the financial boardrooms.

Speaking at the Lansons Future of Financial Services Conference, Mr Wheatley (pictured) said competition and innovation would also be key factors driving the future of the industry.

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He said the financial services space had gone through difficult times in 2007 and 2008 when a lot of questions on the future of finance were raised. But it was now time to turn the focus to a growth agenda rather than rules.

“I agree with Martin Wheatley in terms of the financial services industry in general,” said Patrick Connolly, financial planner at Chase de Vere. “The financial advice industry has been travelling down these roads for some time and has made good progress but there is still a great deal more to be done.”

Competition is the second driver and Mr Wheatley said optimists can point to the opening up of investment markets in 1986 as well as the abolition of trade controls, but there are still challenges in this space.

In April, the FCA gained competition concurrency powers that allow it to investigate breaches of the Competition Act but the key question is, how do regulators have a more telling impact on competition today, than in the past?

Explaining innovation as the third driver, Mr Wheatley said there is a need for more financial services professionals to take the digital route by staying up to date with trends of digital and social media.

He stressed the need for technological changes such as avoiding the traditional adviser channel and instead opting for new means such as through phones, iPads and other digital media.

However, many advisers feel that the FCA needs to do a lot more to tackle challenges in order to ensure a better future for the industry. “The biggest challenge for the financial services industry is building consumer trust. This cannot be demanded, it has to be earned,” Mr Connolly added. “The only way to achieve this is by companies putting customers’ interests at the heart of everything they do; even then it will take time. The FCA has an incredibly important role in making that happen.”