July 17 – Where is our regulator?

The FCA has confirmed regulatory fees for the next year and firms will receive their invoices over the coming weeks. The 10% decrease in the FCA’s periodic fee for mortgage intermediaries is welcomed. However, this was due to the FCA last year over-estimating the work it would be carrying out on the Mortgage Credit Directive. Whilst this is not surprising considering its rules copied out the legislation and there was little follow-up work done with firms, it is concerning that the support provided to help firms understand the changes was significantly less than that following the Mortgage Market Review.

I can’t help wonder whether a similar approach will be taken with the General Data Protection Regulation. We continue to raise the need for clarification on how this will link with the regulatory requirements. It remains to be seen whether firms will ever receive the guidance they need, or whether the responsibility to provide support and communication will fall to the trade bodies again.

Firms not members of trade bodies however will only have the FCA contact centre for guidance, which routinely provides contradictory or incorrect responses. Innovative tech firms are instead given one-to-one compliance support in the regulatory sandbox. From our initial studies of these firms, it appears that once authorised, some attempt to limit their liability, others make erroneous and unfounded claims about their competition and have a tendency to mislead customers on their relative remuneration.

So before we embrace the slightly less painful cost burden, I can’t help but ask “where is our regulator?”

Aileen Lees Senior Policy Adviser

July 2017