Riding the Currents of Regulatory change

Amidst a backdrop of technological evolution, macro-economic turbulence and demographic change, financial services firms are finding their business models shaped by intense currents of regulatory change.

If firms wish to get ahead of this and start proactively driving change, they need to be well acquainted with the regulator's priorities.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)'s Business Plan 2019-2020 was published in mid­-April. Firms will no doubt notice that the volume of planned regulatory change remains high.

The UK's planned withdrawal from the European Union and the upcoming deadline for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints have both played a massive part in shaping the FCA's forward-thinking this year. There is also a focus on ensuring that the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Open banking are embedded securely and thoroughly.

In addition, the regulator will also be following up on findings from the Strategic Review of Retail Banking business models, meaning that the twelve months ahead. are unlikely to be  quiet.

Potential impacts - for the banking sector and further afield    

It's easy to see that the regulator is intent on fostering innovation, while making sure that the digital products and services we all now take for granted are utilised in the best interests of markets and customers.

It is interesting to note that the regulator is investigating pricing practices within multiple sectors, with a continued focus on customers in vulnerable circumstances, culture and governance structures and the fair treatment of ?loyal? customers.

Firms will also need to continue to prioritise financial crime prevention and anti-money laundering, with the FCA strengthening its capabilities to tackle both through intelligence, the use of data and even ?ethical hacking?.

Cyber-risk is considered across several priorities this year, but most notably when discussing operational resilience. The fact that ?innovation, data and data ethics? is a priority this year should come as no surprise to firms. Other strategic challenge areas noted by the regulator include ?demographic change? and the ?future of regulation?.

It's certain that 2019-20 will continue to be a year of intense change. Firms need to be sure that they are up to the task of operating efficiently - and for the benefit of customers and markets - through it all. The starting point for firms will be ensuring the Business Plan has been reviewed in detail. Huntswood has produced a considered summary of this, complete with key questions, to make this process simpler.   

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