In its recently released Business Plan 2023/24, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined its ambitious programme for the next 12 months, which is designed to achieve better outcomes for consumers and markets in line with its three-year strategy. This comes as the FCA enters the second year of its 3-year strategy, during which it plans to accelerate its work in four areas, including: putting consumers’ needs first, preparing financial services for the future, strengthening the UK’s position in global wholesale markets, and reducing and preventing financial crime.
Putting Consumers’ Needs First
The FCA will continue to prioritise protecting people from unfair treatment, with more staff being allocated to ensure firms support consumers who are struggling financially. The Consumer Duty, which will come into force in July, will play a leading role in meeting the FCA’s objective of putting consumers’ needs first. The FCA has committed to providing additional resources to make sure the transition is smooth for both consumers and firms. They aim to use the Duty to encourage more innovation and competition, as it could lead to a more simplified approach to regulation.
Preparing Financial Services for the Future
The FCA’s second priority is to continue its urgent work with its partners and deliver the outcomes of the new Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) and Edinburgh Reforms. More than £12m will be invested to prepare for the FRF, which will help support the UK’s wider economic growth and international competitiveness, in line with the FCA’s new secondary objective. The FCA will continue to support innovative and high-growth firms, including through its Sandbox and its Early and High Growth Oversight function. New cost-benefit analysis panels will also be established to support the effectiveness of the FCA’s program of work.
Strengthening the UK’s Position in Global Wholesale Markets
To make the UK a more attractive place for business, the FCA will set out further proposals to reform the listing regime to attract world-leading firms and encourage competition. The FCA wants to use the opportunity provided by the FRF to see if improvements can be made to asset management regulation. As part of the Edinburgh Reforms, the FCA will consult this year on consolidated tapes, which could improve the overall cost, quality, and accessibility of wholesale data. Consolidated tapes take data from across the wholesale market and distribute it in single, standardised feeds.
Reducing and Preventing Financial Crime
The FCA’s fourth priority is to continue its work in finding innovative ways of reducing and preventing financial crime, which harms confidence and integrity in the UK’s market and puts consumers’ money at risk. The FCA is looking to strengthen its authorisation process, improve assessments of regulated firms, and increase staff to investigate and prosecute offenders. Alongside this, the FCA is continuing to develop tools to find scam sites. It is already using machine learning and other tools to find and remove scams, with hundreds of websites taken down as a result, and more than 1,800 alerts being issued during 2022.
Furthermore, the FCA is also focusing on enhancing its regulatory approach to better address risks and challenges that arise from new technology and innovation, such as cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance (DeFi). As the adoption of these technologies increases, there is a growing need to ensure that consumers are protected, and that risks to financial stability are addressed. The FCA will be closely monitoring developments in this area and will be working with industry stakeholders to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place to protect consumers and markets.
In summary, the FCA’s Business Plan 2023/24 sets out a clear roadmap for the next 12 months, which aims to strengthen the UK’s financial services industry, protect consumers, and promote competition and innovation.
How Neopay can help
As the FCA ramps up its efforts to protect consumers and improve market outcomes, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses in the financial sector to ensure compliance with regulations. This is where Neopay can help. With our expertise in regulatory compliance, we can assist businesses in navigating the complex landscape of FCA regulations and staying ahead of changes to regulatory requirements. By working with us, businesses can mitigate the risks of non-compliance, ensuring they are well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of consumers and the wider economy.
If you would like more information on how we can support your business in meeting your FCA compliance requirements and obligations, contact us here.