Fighting financial crime, protecting consumers’ needs, and bolstering wholesale markets are the regulator’s key priorities for the year ahead.

By Rob Moulton, Nicola Higgs, Becky Critchley, and Charlotte Collins

On 19 March 2024, the FCA published its Business Plan for 2024/25, setting out its priorities for the year ahead. While the Business Plan now takes on less significance than it did historically given other publications in circulation such as the FCA’s 3-year Strategy and the Regulatory

FCA finds firms have been working hard to embed the Duty, but there remains room for improvement.

By Becky Critchley and Charlotte Collins

On 20 February 2024, the FCA published more information on the Consumer Duty, including a publication highlighting good practices and areas for improvement. The FCA also used a related speech to remind firms of the 31 July 2024 deadline for applying the Duty to closed products and services, and for producing the first annual board report assessing

This annual publication explores some of the core focus areas for UK-regulated financial services firms in the year ahead. 2023 saw significant progress on the regulatory reform agenda, and many measures consulted on or reviewed as part of the Edinburgh Reforms will be finalised and/or implemented in the course of 2024.

We also saw the passing of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, many provisions of which have already come into effect and have made important changes to the

The Discussion Paper on the Advice Guidance Boundary Review examines how authorised firms can provide more support to customers.

By Rob Moulton, Nicola Higgs, Becky Critchley, and Charlotte Collins

The FCA has published a Discussion Paper (DP23/5) with the government on the Advice Guidance Boundary Review, which seeks views on the following three proposals:  

  • Further clarifying when firms can provide support to consumers without giving regulated financial advice
  • A new approach that would allow firms to provide support tailored to groups of people in similar circumstances
  • A new form of simplified advice that would make it easier for firms to provide affordable advice to clients with more straightforward needs and smaller sums to invest

With the implementation deadline looming, the FCA has set out some additional guidance for firms.

By Nicola Higgs, Becky Critchley, Effie Stathaki, and Charlotte Collins

With one month to go until the Consumer Duty (Duty) implementation deadline of 31 July 2023 (for new and existing products and services that are open for sale or renewal), the FCA is reminding firms of what they should be doing now to prepare.

The FCA has published the results from a survey of over 1,000 regulated firms that looked at how prepared those firms were three months in advance of the implementation deadline. The survey focused on smaller firms and sectors in which it appeared to the FCA that firms may have been less engaged and prepared; therefore, the findings are not necessarily representative of regulated firms more broadly. However, the FCA also set out some general expectations for all firms as they approach the implementation deadline.

By David Berman, Nicola Higgs, Rob Moulton, and Beck Critchley

With the Consumer Duty application date of 31 July 2023 fast approaching, this briefing reviews the ongoing obligations that apply to the boards of FCA-regulated firms under the Consumer Duty, including (1) embedding good customer outcomes, (2) ongoing monitoring, and (3) the annual assessment.

Authored by our Financial Regulatory specialists, the briefing also discusses the key roles of the Consumer Duty Champion and board members individually, and

The FCA has published the findings from its review of firms’ fair value assessment frameworks and set out implementation priorities for firms.

By David Berman, Nicola Higgs, Rob Moulton, Becky Critchley, and Charlotte Collins

On 10 May 2023, the FCA published a speech by Sheldon Mills, FCA Executive Director, Consumers and Competition, on the countdown to the Consumer Duty implementation deadline of 31 July 2023. Alongside the speech, the FCA published the findings from its review of 14 firms’ fair value assessment frameworks under the Consumer Duty.

While the FCA’s review found that firms had considered the requirements carefully, it is concerned that some firms’ frameworks may not be effective in practice. Firms in the final stages of their implementation projects will want to ensure they take the FCA’s messaging, and findings from its review, on board.

The Consumer Duty applies to firms that materially influence consumer outcomes.

By Becky Critchley and Effie Stathaki

The Consumer Duty (Duty) (as set out in the FCA’s Policy Statement PS22/9 and guidance document FG22/5) will come into force at the end of July 2023.

The Duty applies across the distribution chain – namely, to all firms involved in the manufacture, provision, sale, and ongoing administration and management of a product or service to the end retail customer.

The Duty applies to all firms that have a material influence over, or determine, retail customer outcomes.

The Future Regulatory Framework and Consumer Duty will be key areas of focus for the coming year.

By Rob Moulton, Nicola Higgs, David Berman, Becky Critchley, and Charlotte Collins

On 5 April 2023, the FCA published its Business Plan for 2023/24. The Business Plan sets out a number of priority areas for the regulator, tied into its three main areas of focus: reducing and preventing serious harm, setting and testing higher standards, and promoting competition and positive change.

The FCA highlights four of these priority areas that will receive additional emphasis over the coming year. These priority areas indicate a strong focus on developing the Future Regulatory Framework, including consulting on Handbook Rules to replace elements of onshored EU legislation as well as progressing the Edinburgh Reforms; and on consumer protection, including effectively implementing the new Consumer Duty.

The letters ask senior management to prioritise implementing the Duty.

By David BermanNicola HiggsRob MoultonBecky CritchleyElla McGinnJaime O’Connell, and Dianne Bell

On 3 February 2023, the FCA published Dear CEO/Director letters underscoring the immediate (i.e., during the implementation period up until 31 July 2023) and longer-term expectations, priorities, and demands under the Consumer Duty. For further information, see Latham’s recent blog on the FCA’s multi-firm review summarising areas of improvement for firms’ implementation plans.