This week has seen HM Treasury consult on an innovation plan for financial services.

REGULATORY  

FCA Handbook Notice 32

The Financial Conduct Authority has published Handbook Notice 32, which sets out amendments to the Handbook and other materials made by the FCA Board under its rulemaking powers. These include minor changes to the guidance at CONC 7 and 8, which remind firms in the light of the recent pension reforms not to pressurise a customer to repay a debt by using a lump sum from their pension.

FCA, 21 April 2016

HM Treasury consultation on innovation plan for financial services sector

HM Treasury has published a consultation on a draft innovation plan for financial services.  This will cover the Financial Conduct Authority, Payment Systems Regulator, Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England. As part of the process, the Government wants to know where there are gaps in the regulatory approach supporting innovation. The consultation will run until 6 May 2016. 

HM Treasury, 22 April 2016  

FCA Regulation round-up - April 2016

The Financial Conduct Authority has published its Regulation round-up newsletter for April 2016 which includes a section on Consumer Credit. 

FCA, 21 April 2016

FCA to launch redesigned website in June

The Financial Conduct Authority has announced that it will launch a redesigned website in June 2016. 

FCA, 19 April 2016

UK

Treasury Committee highlights concerns over banking tax surcharge

The chairman of the House of Commons, Treasury Select Committee,  Andrew Tyrie MP has written to the chair of the Competition and Markets Authority expressing concerns about the banking tax surcharge on competition and challenger banks.  Mr Tyrie expresses the hope that the CMA will fully examine barriers to entry in its retail banking investigation due in August 2016.

UK Parliament, 22 April 2016

ACCA report: Britain's debt, how much is too much?

report published by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants looks at household financial resilience and its links with income, credit use and over-indebtedness. It focuses on three "risk groups" namely the self-employed, those with variable incomes and students. 

ACCA, 22 April 2016

CML publishes mortgage lending statistics

According to data published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, gross mortgage lending reached £25.7 billion in March, driven by a surge to beat the second property stamp duty surcharge deadline.

CML, 21 April 2016

HM Treasury call for information on anti-money laundering

HM Treasury are consulting on the UK's anti-money laundering supervisory regime. The National Risk Assessment published in October 2015 found that while anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regimes are in good order, more could be done. In particular, the effectiveness of supervisors is inconsistent and there is no formal and systematic means of reviewing performance. There is also feedback to the effect that the Financial Conduct Authority concentrates too much on procedural requirements than on actual detection and prevention. On the other hand, HM Treasury asks how financial services firms can be encouraged to take a more proportionate approach to fulfilling their obligations and avoid placing unnecessary burdens on customers.  Comments should be received by 2 June 2016.

HM Treasury, 21 April 2016

Bank of England and Financial Services Bill

The Bill has now completed its Report Stage in the House of Commons. Royal Assent is expected in May. The Report Stage contains a variety of amendments to the Bill including changes to the new Senior Managers Regime, Parliamentary involvement in the appointment of the FCA chief executive and the enforceability of consumer credit related agreements.

UK Parliament, 19 April 2016

CASES

Unfair terms and Member States' obligation to provide effective remedies

The defendant banks sought to have proceedings brought by a consumer over the validity of an interest rate floor in a mortgage stayed under Spanish law pending the outcome of a collective action brought by a consumer association. After examining national law, the EU Court of Justice held that it did not provide an adequate nor effective remedy against an unfair terms clause contrary to Article 7 of the Unfair Contracts Terms Directive. This was because the consumer was bound by the outcome of the collective proceedings, whether or not he chose to participate, and the second court was prevented from considering his specific circumstances. This decision may have implications in other Member States where individual cases may be stayed in the light of group or collective litigation.

Sinues v Caixabank SA and another C 381/14, EU Court of Justice, 14 April 2016