Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA: ‘Sometimes it feels like we ask a lot of firms’

FCA: ‘Sometimes it feels like we ask a lot of firms’

The Financial Conduct Authority’s chief operating officer Emily Shepperd said it is currently exploring the “sphere of financial advice”, specifically looking at simplifying the regime. 

Speaking at the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments’ Financial Planning Conference, Shepperd said the FCA recognises the burden of regulation that currently applies across the board to advisers.

As part of its consumer investments strategy, the FCA wants to establish a simplified advice regime for mainstream stocks and shares ISAs where the risks to consumers are relatively low.

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This will remove some of the “burden of regulation” which currently applies to all advisers and it will enable firms to reduce their charges and make advice on mainstream investments more accessible to mass-market consumers.

At the conference, held in Liverpool yesterday (October 6), Shepperd said: “Sometimes it feels like we ask a lot of firms. We also – rightly - ask a lot of ourselves and measure our progress against clear metrics. 

“These range from the number of firm cancellations or withdrawals of permissions as we look to shut down problem firms, to halting the growth in investment fraud victims and losses to increasing our interventions on non-compliant financial promotions by authorised firms.”  

This comes as earlier this week, the FCA proposed introducing a new financial resilience return to replace the existing ad hoc survey, estimated to have an ongoing cost of £2.5mn to firms. 

Last week in a separate speech, the FCA also said it was looking at transforming the advice and guidance rules. 

Authorisations

Another area the FCA said it is looking at is regulated third party tech firms.

With the rise in reliance on critical third parties – such as cloud services – the FCA has had to work with other regulators and the Treasury to come up with ways to mitigate the risk of harm when things go wrong.

In a consultation paper in July, the FCA, Bank of England and Prudential Regulation Authority asked for industry feedback on measures to manage the risk from critical third parties (CTPs).

Critical third party companies will have to conform to minimum standards of resilience under potential new guidance released by UK regulators.

The rules are aimed at tackling the potential system risks posed by financial sector firms relying on the services of a small number of CTPs, including cloud providers.

“The problem with working for a regulator is that when things go right, when you protect consumers from harm, issue guidance on sanctions to banks or liaise or block a malevolent firm from being authorised, the public won’t hear about it,” she said.

“But when things go wrong, everyone knows about it.”

She added: “As a regulator, we recognise that there are areas where we need to make improvements to support the outcomes we want to see.”