Shayne Halfpenny-Ray examines regulatory updates from across the sector
With the end of 2020 now in sight, it is crazy to think that we have spent the better part of a year largely in our homes interacting by email and video calls. However, despite the situation we have found ourselves in, time marches on and so does the regulatory landscape.
Call for Input
The PFS is currently working on its response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Call for Input on the Consumer Investment Market. The FCA states that the purpose of this call for input is to examine where the consumer investment market is not working well for customers and seeks views on what changes we
can make to improve protections and outcomes in this market.
The questions the FCA has set out include:
- How can the FCA help the market offer a range of products and services that meet straightforward investment needs?
- How can it ensure that those who have the financial resources to accept higher investment risk can do so if they choose, but in a way that ensures they understand the risk they are taking?
- How can it help people to understand the risks of investment and the level of regulatory protection afforded to them when they invest?
- How can people be better protected from scams?
While we have already been consulting members, please do get in touch with us if you have any particular views on these areas. The call for input closes on 15 December 2020.
Pensions Schemes Bill
The Pensions Schemes Bill continues to make its way through parliament and has now reached an advanced stage where it has re-entered the House of Lords, following amendments made to it in the House
The bill will enhance the pensions regulator’s sanctions power, introducing the ability to issue civil penalties of up to £1m, as well as three new criminal offences, including a new sentence of up to seven years in prison for bosses who deliberately mismanage pension schemes or withdraw from them for personal gain. The government is also looking to make pensions schemes greener, requiring schemes to adopt and report against the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and to take the UK’s net-zero targets, as well as the COP21 Paris Agreement goals, into account. It will also legislate for the creation of collective defined contribution schemes.
Finally, looking ahead to 2021, the FCA has continued to urge businesses to prepare for the inevitable exit from the transition period and for the new relationship with the European Union. Regardless of what trading relationship we end up with, the FCA wants to stress that it will ensure the regulatory approach to financial services remains effective and appropriate now that we have left the EU. After 1 January 2021, EU law and its regulatory structures cease to apply in the UK, and the UK government is currently consulting on what the future financial regulation landscape will look like post-Brexit.
The PFS will be responding to this consultation and will continue to work with both the government and the regulator to ensure this transition to a new regulatory and working environment is as smooth
Shayne Halfpenny-Ray is policy and public affairs adviser of the PFS