The FCA has published its Business Plan for 2015/16, setting out the key areas of work it intends to undertake to pursue its statutory objectives.
Amongst other things, the FCA’s key priorities are:
- to examine whether the sales practices of pension providers have improved since the 2014 review into annuities sales;
- to look at how firms were helping consumers make the right choice in relation to their pension given the options soon to be available to people as part of the Government’s pensions reforms;
- to look at how the mortgage market is working, in particular any barriers to competition and the ability of consumers to switch provider or access credit;
- to implement and review the consumer credit regime and the firms and practices within the sector;
- to take forward the announced wholesale market study into competition in investment and corporate banking;
- to monitor developments in technology and how that affects firms and consumers, including a market study on the use of Big Data in the insurance market;
- to contribute to international benchmark reform;
- to work with firms preparing for the implementation of MiFID II and the Market Abuse Regulation;
- to launch a market study on asset management that will examine charges paid by investors and what drives those charges; and
- from April, powers to enforce against unlawful anti-competitive behaviour in the financial services industry concurrent with the Competition and Markets Authority come into effect.
Specifically on consumer credit and complex terms and conditions the FCA will monitor:
- poor culture and practice in consumer credit affordability assessments that could result in unaffordable debt; and
- the impact of the Consumer Rights Act which comes into force this autumn.