Our roundup of FCA activities last week includes two instances of addressing the UK’s regulatory role post-Brexit, a worrying picture of the later-life mortgage market, and the continuing saga of the British Steel Pension Scheme.
Financial advisers Independently East Ltd entered administration following an application by the FCA. The Official Receiver has been appointed to act as liquidator.
Details of new checks for firms approving financial adverts for unregulated bodies were published. The new rules will come into force on February 7, 2024, and firms need to apply to the FCA between November 6, 2023 and February 6, 2024 to continue approving ads. The new rules build on recent work to strengthen rules around high-risk investment, revamp social media guidance and crack down on misleading adverts.
Financial Services and Markets Act 2023
Two more advisers have been banned in connection with the sprawling British Steel Pension Scheme scandal. Keith Dickinson and Andrew Allen of Mansion Park Limited, which has gone into liquidation, have been banned from providing advice on pension transfers and opt-outs and ordered to pay compensation of £70,000 ($85,428) and £85,606 ($104,473) respectively to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The FSCS has already paid out £3m ($3.67m) in compensation to Mansion Park customers. Advice provided by Dickinson and signed off by Allen “was based on the flawed assumption that transferring would be in their customer’s best interest”.
The results of a targeted review on advertising for later-life mortgages were published, with the FCA reporting almost 400 misleading promotions had been removed. The results painted a picture of poor advice and mislaeading promotions in the sector, and Sheldon Mills, Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, said: “We expect all firms to assure themselves they comply with existing rules and guidance and higher standards under the consumer duty.”
Speeches and media
Greg Sachradja, the FCA’s Co-Director, Cross-Cutting Policy and Strategy, Supervision, Policy and Competition, blogged some thoughts on the work the regulator is doing to write a UK financial services rulebook now the country has left the EU.
“The 2023 Act also allows the repeal of the ‘retained EU legislation’ (REUL) in financial services that the UK inherited. This means that we can now write new rules more suitable for UK markets and consumers,” he wrote. But, he added, that didn’t mean everything was going to be ripped up. It was important to retain what worked and improve what could be improved, and the FCA wants to work with the industry to achieve the best results.
FCA chair Ashley alder gave a speech to the Eurofi Conference entitled ‘Open markets and common causes: International collaboration and the modernisation of financial services regulation in the UK’. He said: “We want to encourage efficient international investment flows based on strong cooperation and ensure that we can address risks which frequently know no borders. All of this will enable both EU and UK businesses to grow and thrive.”