Simon Turner, Partner in EY’s Financial Services Regulation practice, comments:
“As we emerge from the pandemic and government support tapers away, it’s absolutely right that the key focus of the regulator’s Business Plan is on stronger consumer and SME protection, offering greater assistance to those in a vulnerable position and ensuring better consumer value overall.
“The challenge for the industry will be making sure all this happens whilst also prioritising other crucial issues which are in the regulator’s in-tray. These include supporting wider economic recovery, being globally competitive, developing greater diversity and inclusion in the sector, focusing on ESG, improving the use of technology and innovation and transitioning from IBOR – all while retaining appropriate standards.
“For the FCA itself, the ambition outlined in the plan to transform to a more data-led, smart regulator should be welcomed. The success of the regulatory body is vitally important and reflects positively on the sector as a whole.
“There’s clearly a lot on the FCA’s plate and a lot for the 60,000 financial services firms it regulates to do. The FCA specifically states a desire to be more assertive and as they test the limits of their own powers, now, more than ever, there will be greater individual accountability and reliance on the firms themselves to take the necessary action to stop and prevent misconduct that leads to harm. Ultimately, it is the role of the industry and regulator alike to maintain trust and integrity in markets.
“Financial services firms should, therefore, be under no illusion about what the FCA expects with regards their duty of care. Firms need to take all reasonable steps to avoid causing foreseeable harm, they must act in good faith towards their customers and, in doing so, consider the breadth of their activities, whether communications, products and services, customer service or price and value.”