Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA invoice fee faces fair treatment hurdle

FCA invoice fee faces fair treatment hurdle

The Financial Conduct Authority has said it will consider adjusting its plan to charge all fee-payers for paper invoices to accommodate individuals with a disability. 

In a consultation paper published earlier this month the regulator proposed introducing a £50 annual charge for those who ask for paper invoices from the FCA instead of using its online invoicing portal. 

The watchdog also warned it would consider making online invoicing mandatory if its fee-payers continue to request paper copies of regulatory invoices. 

FTAdviser now understands the FCA will consider making "reasonable adjustments" to its proposals if it receives evidence individuals with a disability require a physical paper invoice. 

An FCA spokesperson said: "We are actively seeking views and evidence, which will help inform the final rules which we will publish in 2020.

"We would encourage FCA fee-payers to review our proposals and provide us with feedback before the consultation closes on January 13, 2020.

"We will of course take account of our obligations under the Equality Act 2010."

Government guidance published late last year suggests an organisation should involve disabled people from its audience when "developing and reviewing a strategy for producing information in accessible formats". 

The FCA has previously promoted the environmental advantages of online invoicing and most recently warned the additional costs of issuing paper invoices to those companies which do not use its online portal were currently being paid by other fee-paying firms. 

In April 2018 15 per cent of fee-payers still used paper invoices, but this has now dropped to fewer than 8 per cent. 

The regulator argued issuing paper invoices involved direct costs for printing, paper, postage and staff time spent chasing firms for payment and issuing reminders.

In its consultation paper published earlier this month the FCA said it would consider the policy a success when it has no additional costs to recover because all firms engage with the regulator electronically. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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