’We remain resolute in supporting the vital role the financial sector plays in the UK’s long-term economic growth,’ says regulator’s chief executive

The FCA has prioritised the protection of consumers and the promotion of effective competition within the financial services industry in its Business Plan 2024/25, published today (19 March 2024). 

In the document, the regulator explained that it would continue to test higher standards for regulated firms by embedding the Consumer Duty and “take action where appropriate” to ensure market integrity.

Nikhil Rathi, the regulator’s chief executive, added: ”We’ve already made significant progress in delivering against the bold vision we set out in our strategy two years ago, including the game-changing introduction of the Consumer Duty and proposing the most far-reaching reforms to wholesale market regulation and the listing regime in decades. 

“We remain resolute in supporting the vital role the financial sector plays in the UK’s long-term economic growth, embracing the potential benefits that technology presents both for us and the firms we regulate, while also continuing to protect consumers and ensure market integrity.”

Regulatory commitments

In its business plan, the regulator highlighted that it would could continue to 13 public commitmments it has previously outlined, including taking assertive action on market abuse, improving oversight for appointed representatives and preparing financial services for the future. 

Specifically in 2024/25, the FCA said that it would being to increase investment in its systems to “use intelligence and data more effectively” during financial crime work – allowing it to focus on higher risk firms and activities. 

Michael Sicsic, managing partner at risk and regulation consultancy Sicsic Advisory, commented: “It’s full-steam ahead for the final year of the FCA’s three year strategy.

”The FCA is getting the resources it needs to support its ambitions, growing its workforce to 5,000 by the end of March 2024 and further investing in data and technology to support ‘rigorous’  market oversight.

“The Consumer Duty remains high on the agenda, described by Nikhil Rathi as ‘game changing’. The consumer issues it raises, such as cost of living pressures, access and financial inclusion, fraud and scams can all be viewed through the consumer lens.

”In insurance, it will look at how quickly firms respond to claims, including where customers show characteristics of vulnerability.”

Imogen Makin, counsel at law firm WilmerHale, added: ”The FCA’s continued focus on reducing and preventing financial crime, together with putting consumers’ needs first, means that we’re likely to see a continuing stream of assertive supervision and enforcement cases featuring these topics.”