Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA to improve register

FCA to improve register

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is planning an overhaul of its authorised firms’ register, which will start this summer.

In a letter to the Work & Pensions select committee, Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the regulator, said changes will be made to "make clearer when requirements, including suspensions, apply to an entry".

He also revealed that the watchdog will also make improvements to the search facility and make available a simpler presentation of some commonly searched information.

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In the letter, Mr Bailey accepted that the register needed to be improved.

He said: "This is partly due to it being created for a specific purpose that did not initially cater for consumers."

The overhaul of the register will continue next year, when the regulator intends to "provide a free application programme interface from the register, which will allow developers to provide services that can integrate register data with other data which consumers use."

Mr Bailey added: "Also in 2019, as part of the senior manager and certification regime, we will introduced a new public register for certified individuals.

"This will link to the financial services register to provide a more intuitive resource for consumers to use.”

In its inquiry into the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), the Work & Pensions committee recommended the FCA names firms and individuals suspended from providing pension advice.

Flaws in the FCA register were flagged up in December at a hearing at the Work & Pensions select committee in Parliament, where steelworkers told MPs about their struggle to find a qualified adviser to help them with their pension decisions.

Steelworkers had until 22 December to decide whether to move their defined benefit (DB) pension pots to a new plan being created, BSPS II, or stay in the current fund, which will be moved to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The scheme had about 130,000 members of which 43,000 are deferred, which means transferring out of their pension is an option for them.

In the letter, Mr Bailey also revealed that the FCA is preparing the next assessing suitability review.

He said: "This will consider advice provided by firms over the course of 2018 and check whether consumers are being recommended products which are suitable for their needs and whether they are being provided with the appropriate disclosure."

maria.espadinha@ft.com