Nearly 600,000 people are now paying less in interest and charges on their credit card debt because of changes made by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
In its Annual Report, published today, the organisation has set out how it has worked over the past 12 months to meet its objectives of protecting consumers, enhancing market integrity and promoting competition, as it becomes a more innovative, assertive and adaptive regulator.
Over the period, the FCA changed insurance rules to stop firms overcharging loyal customers. Millions of customers are now being offered better deals, with the average cost of renewing motor insurance down £55. The FCA also carried out its first ever criminal prosecution under anti-money laundering legislation and worked on an updated listing regime to ensure that the UK remains a trusted and attractive place to list companies.
The FCA continues to offer a welcoming environment for innovative firms. Its award-winning and pioneering sandbox, where financial companies can test new, innovative products and services without risks to consumers, is now open year-round, and has been emulated by regulators around the world.
Along with support for innovation that benefits consumers, markets and competition, the FCA has also demonstrated a more robust approach to authorisations. 80% of crypto firms applying to be registered by the FCA for anti-money laundering purposes either dropped their application or were declined after the FCA had reviewed their anti-financial crime systems and controls and found them wanting.
The FCA has also highlighted areas which fall outside the scope of its regulation but may present risks to consumers. These include exclusions in the financial promotions’ regime, general insurance products and third-party firms who provide services like IT to regulated firms. The FCA’s remit is set by Parliament and the Perimeter Report supports regular dialogue with the Government on the FCA’s regime.
Richard Lloyd, Interim Chair of the FCA, said:
“I am proud of the way that the FCA ensured that financial services could provide strong support for people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and maintained well-functioning markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The next year will see major changes like the new Consumer Duty and regulation of funeral plan providers. I am confident that the FCA will continue to deliver for the consumers and markets that we represent.”
Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the FCA said:
“We continue to transform as an organisation, ensuring that our colleagues have the information they need and are empowered to take the tough decisions on which effective regulation relies. We are learning the lessons from the past to ensure that we can deliver regulation fit for the world in which we operate.”