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FCA expands team to target ‘problem’ firms

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) logo

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is cracking down on problem firms with a larger team.

It is recruiting 80 new employees to work on the initiative, as part of its three-year strategy.

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, said: “Our new strategy enables the FCA to respond more quickly to the rapidly changing financial services sector. It will give us a foundation to continuously improve for the benefit of our stakeholders, and respond swiftly to economic and geopolitical developments.”

The regulator will also, for the first time, hold itself accountable against published outcomes and performance metrics.

In the development of the strategy, the FCA has calculated that for every pound spent on its operations, consumers and small businesses benefit by at least £11.

The strategy builds on activities launched last July, when Rathi committed the regulator to become more innovative, assertive and adaptive and transform the FCA into a data-led platform that can face the threats and opportunities of the future.

This approach led to the FCA reforming the general insurance market, saving consumers an expected £4.2bn over 10 years; leading the transition from LIBOR; helping small businesses claim £1.3bn against business interruption insurance cover; bringing its first ever criminal prosecution under anti-money laundering regulations, with NatWest fined £264m.

The regulator has also considered the rising cost of living, which could drive greater demand for credit products and lead consumers to look for new ways to manage and make more of their money. The FCA says it will continue to work closely with the UK Government and Bank of England in response to the war in Ukraine. 

New terms on buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) finance products, recently introduced by the FCA, have resulted in late payment fees being refunded to customers.

A rise in the popularity of BNPL has seen offerings introduced into car retail’s aftersales sector, with providers aiming to improve the accessibility and affordability of service and maintenance work at the point of sale.

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