Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA steps up focus on advice firms facing collapse

FCA steps up focus on advice firms facing collapse

The City watchdog is prioritising its focus on regulated firms which are "less resilient" to the financial pressures of recent months and face failure in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

FTAdviser understands the Financial Conduct Authority is stepping up its work on the implications the pandemic may have on competition in the financial services sector, including in the advice market. 

In minutes published from its July board meeting it emerged the regulator had established a recovery and resolution strategy and delivery unit, intended to probe the financial resilience of its regulated firms and identify those at risk of failure.

FTAdviser also understands the new unit will work to minimise harm arising from possible disorderly firm failures in a bid to protect consumers. 

The FCA has previously acknowledged some firms under its watch were likely to fail as a result of the crisis fallout, with the regulator sending a mandatory survey to 13,000 regulated firms in June to take stock of the industry's financial wellbeing in light of the virus outbreak.

In response to the request, only 14 advice firms admitted the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic threatened the survival of their business. 

In its latest board minutes the FCA said: "The likely importance of competition in economic recovery is acknowledged, as both a driver of productivity and as a deliverer of benefits to consumers through lower prices, improved services and greater choice."

The regulator said work under its newly-formed resolution team was underway to "apply a competition lens to areas of likely firm failure or consolidation" in an attempt to monitor any risk to market competition and consumers. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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