FCA month in review December 2023 – January 2024

As work at the FCA picks up pace again, we resume our regular digest of the regulator’s work, including a recap on some of the key developments since our last update in mid-December.


Aviation and Tech Capital Ltd, trading as Ablrate, has entered administration. ABLrate was the operator of a peer-to-peer lending platform, helping to facilitate crowdfunded loans to SMEs. The firm’s directors concluded the firm was insolvent, and filed for administration. Sean Bucknall, Brian Burke and Andrew Hosking of Quantuma Advisory Limited have been appointed joint administrators.

Rules and consultations

The FCA welcomed the launch of a voluntary code of conduct for ESG ratings by The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG). We took a closer look at the proposals.

Future plans for open banking in the UK were set out by the Joint Regulatory Oversight Group, with payments to regulated utilities, regulated financial services, and central and local government recommended as first steps. Work is also being carried out on implementing non-sweeping Variable Recurring Payments (VRP). Firms are encouraged to submit views on the delivery of VRP.

A short statement on use of the ancillary activities exemption for commodity derivatives for 2023-24 was issued, clarifying that firms will continue to be able to use the exemption for 2024-25.

More work in the motor finance market will be undertaken by the FCA after a high number of complaints from customer to car finance firms over claims for compensation for discretionary commission arrangements. Commission models that gave motor finance brokers/dealers an incentive to raise customers’ finance costs were banned in 2020. Two cases of misselling car loans recently heard by the Financial Ombudsman Service are understood to have had particular influence on the FCA move.

The FCA will use powers under s166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to investigate whether there has been widespread misconduct in the market. Commentators have speculated that ‘this could be bigger than PPI’.

PS20/8, Financial Services and Markets Act 2000

The heads of a new industry working group set up to look at building capability in sustainable finance throughout financial services have been appointed. Daniel Godfrey, who serves on Legal and General’s Independent Governance Committee and is a Senior Adviser to Moneybox and ShareAction, will be chair and Julia Dreblow, founding director of SRI Services and the Fund EcoMarket, will be vice-chair.

Sacha Sadan, Director of Environmental, Social & Governance, said: “We believe in the value of solutions being led and designed by industry and look forward to seeing the group focus on practical ideas to support the advice sector in building its capabilities on sustainable finance.”


The latest CBEST thematic, detailing the live testing of the cyber resilience of firms and financial market infrastructures, has been published by the FCA alongside the Bank of England and PRA.

Speeches and media

Long-anticipated detail of proposals to improve the accessibility, effectiveness and competitiveness of the UK’s listing regime were set out. The regulator has invited feedback on the detail “from all sides of the market”.

Sarah Pritchard, Executive Director, Markets and International, at the FCA said: “The UK is a world leader for bond and derivative markets, and we want to make it better by ensuring investors have access to better, quicker, clearer and cheaper data.”

The regulator’s assessment of its key achievements in 2023 was published, and we took a look at the detail.