Regulator sets out priorities for the coming year

The FCA aims to publish findings from two investigations into broking in the second half of this year.

The regulator said it aims to publish interim findings from its wholesale broking review and a probe into value in the distribution chain before the end of the year.

In its Business Plan 2018/19, the FCA said its priorities include “exploring how well competition is currently working and whether it could work better in the interests of clients”.

It said it is looking at, “whether brokers use their bargaining power to get clients a good deal, if any conflicts of interest exist and how broker conduct affects competition”.

Interim findings from the wholesale broking review will be published by the end of 2018. The FCA said the report will set out its analysis and preliminary conclusions, “and any potential solutions to address identified concerns”.

“Our priorities are fairness, access and value for retail customers, and an effectively functioning wholesale market,” the FCA said.

“Within this sector, the key drivers of harm include suitability of products, renewal pricing, mis-selling, low value products, operational resilience and cyber-crime.”

Findings from the first phase of a separate probe into value in general insurance distribution chains will also be published in the second half of this year, along with any “next steps” the FCA identifies as necessary.

This investigation has looked at three products – tradesman insurance, travel insurance and motor ancillary insurances, including GAP insurance.

The regulator said this investigation follows the earlier thematic reviews of delegated authority and appointed representatives, “which showed that the value of insurance products and related services could be eroded through the distribution chain”.

“We will look into the end-to-end relationships in a sample of distribution chains,” the FCA said.

“This will enable us to identify how the amounts customers pay divides up between the various parties and how different distribution chains can affect the value of insurance product customer services.”