The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that Chris Woolard, its interim chief executive, will chair a review of regulation of the unsecured credit market.
Reporting to the FCA board, the review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of the coronavirus on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace.
Woolard will be assisted by an advisory group and will make recommendations to the FCA board in early 2021.
The review will form an important step for the FCA’s Consumer Credit business priority, which it announced as part of its 2020/21 Business Plan in April of this year, which seeks to ensure that consumer credit markets function efficiently.
The watchdog also announced that Woolard will be stepping down from the FCA board and any executive or decision-making roles from October 1 2020. Following the completion of the review, Woolard will be moving on from the FCA.
Woolard said: “It has been a tremendous honour to serve as chief executive of the FCA at such a critical time for the country and financial services. I’d like to thank my many colleagues over the last eight years for all their help and support. I am delighted to be asked to lead a timely and significant review where access to sustainable credit is of great importance to so many people.”
Charles Randell, chair of the FCA, said: “I am grateful for Chris’s contribution to the FCA, particularly during the last six months as he has led us through the coronavirus crisis.
“Chris’s deep understanding of the unsecured credit market makes him the ideal person to advise the board on the development of regulation to support sustainable unsecured lending. Unsecured lending can be critical to helping people through tough times but can cause serious harm if it’s not well regulated.”
The Consumer Finance Association issued a statement saying: "We cautiously welcome today’s news from the FCA that a review of the regulation of unsecured credit will take place. We will need to hear more details on the review, its scope and the advisory group as soon as possible.
"This project must look at how credit of all types helps people really live their lives in the modern economy. The FCA should ensure consumers can safely access a sustainable, competitive credit market, especially in light of the impact of Covid 19."