Regulatory Hot Topics – Summer 2022
Consumer Duty - Consumer harm remains high on the agenda for UK financial services regulators. The FCA is due to bring in the Consumer Duty in April 2023, with final rules expected in July 2022. The extent of the duty means that firms should begin preparing sooner rather than later. We’re creating a dedicated section on our website to keep you up to date with the changes brought by the consumer duty, this section will include a range of resources, keep an eye out for those resources which can be found here: Compliance Resources | RB Compliance Consultancy
Appointed Representatives - The FCA is due to publish its final rules on its proposed changes to the Appointed Representatives scheme. In brief, the proposals are to:
Require principals to provide additional and more timely information on their Appointed Representatives and how they are overseen
Clarify and strengthen the responsibilities and expectations of principals.
The FCA will use the information to identify potential risks and understand where principals do not have the expertise or systems and controls to properly oversee its ARs. Appointed Representatives, firms that use, or intend to use, ARs should prepare for the implementation of the new rules.
Advertising – The FCA have stated that they will be monitoring online credit advertising to check that firms have complied with their ‘Dear CEO’ letter. The letter asks firms to take action to review financial promotions, to make sure they are clear, fair and not misleading, and specifically to ensure that they do not use misleading terms, such as ‘loan guaranteed’, ‘pre-approved’, and ‘no credit check loans’.
Cyber Resilience - Worth keeping an eye out for is the adoption of the European Cyber Resilience Act in early Q3. The UK Government’s feedback statement to its own consultation on new laws to improve cyber security is due to be published during the summer. The government proposed to broaden the scope of the existing UK cyber security framework, improve standards for cyber security professionals and modernise the NIS Regulations. UK and EU laws are likely to remain in line with each other, even if there are some minor differences.
Basel III - HM Treasury, alongside the PRA, are due to begin consulting on the implementation of Basel III in H2 2022.
New Approved Persons Fee – The FCA’s new charge of £250 for standalone long Form A applications for SMFs and Controlled Functions for Appointed Representatives came into force on 27 May 2022.
Following the pandemic, ESG is of increasing importance to the UK’s financial services regulators. The FCA continues to work closely with the industry around innovation in sustainable finance, having launched the digital sandbox and green challenge in early 2022.
The FCA and PRA are due to consult on diversity in financial services. A policy statement is expected in 2023. The FCA’s current concern is to ensure that ‘green’ offerings are marketed to accurately reflect what the product can deliver in practice.
Sector specific – Consumer Credit
FCA scrutiny - Following two years of upheaval around the pandemic, there will be increased scrutiny on lenders and on collections. Collections activities are expected to increase across this year, as the final support mechanisms for those in financial difficulties during 2020/21 end and inflation and cost of living increases begin to bite, with rises in the numbers of customers defaulting also likely.
The FCA are due to publish their final findings and potential next steps over the summer, which is likely to impact lenders and collections.
Statutory Debt Repayment Plan - The UK Government’s consultation for the Statutory Debt Repayment Plan closes in August 2022, with final rules due by the end of 2022. The SDRP will allow a person in problem debt to enter into a formal statutory agreement with their creditors to repay all eligible debts over a manageable time period, whilst also receiving legal protections from credit action during the period of the plan.
Buy-Now Pay-Later - Although not due until 2023, it is likely that the UK Government and FCA will publish more information around their plans to bring Buy-Now Pay-Later under the FCA’s perimeter, giving affected firms a heads up about likely rules due in 2023.
Sector specific – Funeral Plans
Funeral plan providers are due to come under the FCA’s remit in July 2022. Funeral plan providers should be either authorised by the implementation date, or prepared to wind up their business.
Data and ICO
The Data Reform Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2022, which will lead to an overhaul of the UK’s data protection regime. The aim is to reduce some of the burdens imposed by the GDPR, and aim to ensure a ‘pro-growth’ model that will help to boost the economy.
The ICO published updated guidance on personal data collection during the pandemic. Firms should check their processes and practices to ensure that any measures in place remain necessary, and whether information collected previously is still needed.
AML / Financial Crime
Updates to the Money Laundering Regulations are due later in 2022, with a wider review expected later on this year, with a view to improving the UK’s money laundering regime.
Keeping staff up to date with the latest good practice in fair treatment of customers is a must in any year – where the Regulator expects monitoring and measurement of good customer service, it becomes vital to business.
We offer a dedicated online training course on the Fair Treatment Of Vulnerable Customers.
With the FCA’s focus on the increasing impact to the financial wellbeing of a significant proportion of UK adults, staff must be clear on the identification and support of customers in financial difficulties. Our dedicated course takes learners through techniques that have been tried and tested, covers questioning skills, empathy and active listening, what to say, when to say it, and how to support customers.
Priced at just £20 per user, the courses are accessible at the delegate’s convenience and provide a certificate upon successful completion, allowing firms to track and record each user’s progress.
For large groups, we can offer several corporate packages.
We will be releasing a package of training and guidance on the Consumer Duty within the next few weeks.
RB Compliance Consultancy Ltd offers in-house seminars on a range of FCA compliance subjects, including SM&CR, Treating Customers Fairly, the Consumer Duty, CONC, Complaints, as well as Conduct Risk and GDPR. Our seminars are delivered by industry expert, Robert Bell, who has over 12 years of experience in financial services compliance.
To enquire further, or to book, simply email Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.