Brexit dominates FCA priorities for year ahead

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its business plan for 2019/20, outlining the key priorities for the coming year, but says the immediate priority will remain supporting an orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU

The business plan outlines four ongoing cross-sector priorities. These include work on firms’ culture and governance, including extending the senior managers and certification regime to all firms. and ensuring the fair treatment of firms’ existing customers by monitoring firms’ practices, including the information they give prospective and current customers.

The FCA also plans to develop the work being done on operational resilience, and its activities combating financial crime and improving anti-money laundering practices, by enhancing the use of technology and data, as well as engaging with multiple agencies and government bodies.

The plan also sets out three additional cross-sector priorities, which have longer time horizons. These are the future of regulation; ensuring innovation and the use of data work in consumers’ interests; and examining the intergenerational challenge in financial services.

Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, said: ‘Dealing with Brexit will be the most immediate challenge we face. But this plan also commits us to a stretching programme of work across the financial sector.

‘In order to ensure we are a regulator that continues to serve the public interest, we need to adapt to the ever-changing environment. This is why the future of regulation is a key priority in this year’s business plan.'

David Miller, partner, KPMG, said: 'Brexit has consumed the last two years and the FCA is realistic that it will continue to be a significant drain on resources for the year ahead. That said, the industry will welcome that the regulator is starting to think long-term with a heavy focus on technology and therefore also considering the future of regulation.

'Financial services is changing at an unprecedented pace; the FCA needs to manage the fine balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring the shift to digital and use of data doesn’t harm markets or consumers.

'In the near term the priority that most stands out is the clear focus on operational resilience where firms will sense a significant raising of the bar in terms of expectations over the next 12 months. Following the implementation of SMCR, firms can also expect the regulators’ focus on culture and accountability to remain vigilant.'

Alongside the business plan, the FCA has also published its annual fees consultation paper and a paper setting out its research agenda for the year. Research areas include how to define a company’s business culture, and the ethics of big data and artificial intelligence.

FCA Business Plan 2019-20

FCA Fees consultation

FCA Research Agenda

Pat Sweet

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