On 29 June 2023, the FCA published a speech by Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition, delivered at the CityUK Annual Conference 2023. The speech discusses the FCA’s growth and competitiveness objective under the new Financial Services and Markets (FSM) Act.

Key points from Mr Mills’ speech include:

  • The FCA welcomes the proposed secondary competitiveness and growth objective, and stands ready to do its part in contributing to this challenge. The FCA has worked towards this and is ready to operationalise the objective through its regulatory work.
  • Mr Mills confirms that the FCA’s Digital Sandbox will be made permanent and the platform will be opened up to an even broader range of innovative businesses and start-ups. The Digital Sandbox will include the ground-breaking use of synthetic transaction and market data. Participants will have access to over 200 data assets, including anonymised payments and transactions data, social media, investment, Company House and credit data.
  • The FCA is working across the financial industry to support further change in regulations to release capital safely and effectively into the real economy. This work includes simplifying the FCA’s listings regime, to ensure raising equity investment in London to fund investment and growth is accessible to as many companies as possible. It also includes broadening access to Long Term Asset Funds and creating a simple, reliable regime for ESG disclosures, labels and ratings.
  • Having listened to feedback, the FCA is tackling its authorisations backlog, having recently reduced it by 60%, to address concerns raised by fintechs and finance businesses wishing to be authorised in the UK.
  • The FCA is working at speed to embed the enhanced accountability mechanisms included in the FSM Act. It is in the process of setting up a new cost-benefit analysis (CBA) panel, which will advise and scrutinise the FCA’s methodology for conducting CBAs.
  • The FCA will soon be publishing its updated rule-review framework, which will lay out when and how the regulator will scrutinise if its existing rules are working as intended.