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FCA puts Brexit and consumer protection on the priority list

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released its business plan for 2018/19, focusing heavily on the resources needed to deal with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.10 Apr 2018

According to the plan (62 page / 3.9MB PDF), Brexit is a key priority for the regulator as it seeks to ensure an appropriate transition to the new regulatory environment after the UK's withdrawal next March. The FCA’s work will include working with regulated firms and monitoring the risks Brexit poses to its objectives, ensuring it is operationally ready for withdrawal, and cooperating with its international partners.

The regulator said "the additional cost of our EU withdrawal work outside our redeployed resources, is £16 million", and it expected its work in this area to continue past the March 2019 deadline.

The business plan outlined seven cross-sector priorities, and seven sector-specific priorities.

The cross-sector priorities include firms’ culture and governance, tackling financial crime, looking at data security and resilience, focusing on innovation, the treatment of existing customers, long-term savings such as pensions, and high-cost credit.

Many of these areas are already a focus for the regulator. Sector priorities listed in the business plan cover financial markets, investment management, retail lending, pensions, retail investment, retail banking and general insurance.

The FCA said it would review areas such as money laundering in capital markets and the commission arrangements  credit brokers have with  firms. Other tasks for the coming year included supervisory and monitoring work on the implementation of EU directives, such as the second iterations of the Payment Services Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.

The regulator also published its proposed fees and levies (193 page / 1.6MB PDF) for 2018/19 for consultation. It said its annual funding requirement for the year was £543.9m, "an increase of 3.2%" from the previous year.

Alongside the business plan, the FCA released a discussion paper (25 page / 377KB PDF) setting out its framework for measuring the impact of its interventions using ex post 'after the event' impact evaluations. Although the regulator has in the past studied the impact of its interventions, it said this was the first time it had set out a framework for consultation.

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said: “The business plan is an important way in which we are transparent about our priorities for the year. We recognise that this year we need to dedicate a significant amount of resource to withdrawal from the EU. As a result, setting our priorities this year has involved a particularly rigorous level of scrutiny and challenge to focus on areas where we see the greatest potential for harm.”