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FCA to become “more assertive”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made a commitment to become a “more innovative, adaptive and assertive regulator”.

These commitments reflect its business plan for 2021/22, which is the first annual plan since Nikhil Rathi joined the regulator as chief executive in October 2020.

In a statement on its role, the FCA says it will be setting the bar high to support market integrity and sustainable innovation - making sure that firms “start with high standards and maintain them”. It will also be taking new approaches to find issues and harm faster, and will be investing £120m on its data strategy over the next three years.

Additionally, it will be tackling misconduct to maintain trust and integrity. Alongside this, it wants to enable consumers to make “informed financial decisions”.

Commenting on the news, Rathi said: “Over the next 18 months you will continue to see an FCA that looks and feels even more different. One that operates differently, partners differently, and communicates differently.

“One that delivers market integrity and delivers for the consumers that we serve. One that is not only purposeful but that is fit for purpose. There is a lot of work to do. And I am confident that we have the right strategy, the right people and the right ambition to do it.”

The FCA’s business plan, meanwhile, sets out the key areas of focus for the regulator in the coming year. Outlined in this, its consumer market priorities include strengthening rules on financial promotion - in order to protect consumers in relation to investments - and continuing to improve standards of pension advice.

It will also start a consumer campaign on scams and high-risk investments, and progress with proposals for a new consumer duty plan in order to “raise standards” in firms’ treatment of customers. As well as this, it will work with its partners to help to drive down the incidence and impact of fraud, and continue to develop plans to make its primary and secondary markets work better while maintaining high standards post-Brexit.

Alongside this, the FCA is to begin a review of aspects of the rules on the coverage of Financial Service Compensation Scheme payouts. It will also be consulting on “changing the balance” between decisions taken by the FCA executive and the Regulatory Decisions Committee. The proposed changes aim to streamline decision making on authorisation applications and specific supervisory and enforcement decisions.

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