Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA hints at regulatory change

FCA hints at regulatory change

The Financial Conduct Authority has suggested it may need to review its regulations amid people's changing financial needs.

In the annual publication of its financial sector reviews published today (January 10), the regulator identified a "societal change" in the UK which may require a review of its conduct requirements to ensure they remain "fit for purpose".

The FCA said it was continuing its work towards a "deeper understanding" of changing financial circumstances and consumer needs.  

The regulator said: "We also need to ensure that we understand and regulate appropriately those products supporting wealth accumulation, decumulation and intergenerational transfers."

Several catalysts for regulatory change were identified in the review, including millennials struggling to get on the housing ladder and the effect of pension freedoms shifting the responsibility of pension longevity onto the consumer.

The FCA said: "Consumers of all ages are having to assume greater levels of responsibility for increasingly complex decisions in their interactions with financial services.

"The transfer of risk towards individuals is clear in pensions with an increasing reliance on defined contribution pensions, but is also significant in insurance with a decline in the use of advice and the purchase of certain products."

The regulator added: "As we look ahead at the likely impact of these intergenerational changes and understand the risks to certain groups, together with the greater onus on consumers to manage their financial futures, we may need to review some of our conduct requirements to ensure that they remain fit for purpose."

In response to the city watchdog's suggestion of regulatory reform, calls have been made for industry areas such as pension transfers to be spared any immediate change. 

Ian Browne, pensions expert at Quilter, said: "If the game has changed then not only are the rules no longer not fit for purpose they simply don’t make sense." 

But Mr Browne added: "However, in some areas, such as pension transfers, regulation has been changing so consistently that the industry is running just to stay in place.

"It is vital that this area is appropriately regulated, but the deluge of changes seen over the past number need to embed first.

"Indeed, for the industry to consider potential solutions to some of the new societal challenges facing generations they first need to be confident that the rules they are structuring those solutions around will not change."