On 8 October 2021, the FCA published a speech by Nisha Arora (Director of Consumer and Retail Policy, FCA) entitled Regulating for better outcomes – next steps in consumer credit.

Key points in the speech include:

  • It’s never been more important that the consumer credit market works well for consumers, firms and the economy. The consequences of coronavirus are still unfolding, and we are yet to see what the “new normal” looks like.
  • The FCA’s focus on better consumer outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable, runs through its vulnerability guidance and its proposals for a new Consumer Duty.
  • Buy-now-pay-later is a product that can have important benefits for consumers as it develops and becomes more widespread, but it also carries risks and the potential for harm. The FCA needs to revisit the boundaries of what is and isn’t regulated credit as new products develop and consumers’ use of them changes. The FCA expects the Government to consult on a proposed regulatory framework in the next few weeks. After that, the FCA will issue its own consultation on the relevant FCA rules.
  • Another key area of FCA work will be a continued focus on outcomes for credit borrowers in financial difficulty. The FCA is making sure that lenders provide borrowers with the support they need when they get into difficulty. That means early engagement between consumers and firms when problems arise; appropriate help for consumers that meets complex needs and takes account of vulnerable circumstances; consistent and appropriate reporting to credit reference agencies; and good quality debt advice and debt solutions where borrowers need them.
  • The FCA has restarted its Credit Information Market Study, as recommended by the Woolard Review, with an interim report due early next year.