This week has seen publication by the FCA of a statement detailing its progress on processing applications for authorisation to operate P2P platforms

REGULATORY  

FCA statement on peer-to-peer applications for full authorisation

The Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement over delays on applications for full authorisation to operate peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. The regulator emphasises the need for applications to be properly considered reminding firms that it has up to 12 months to reach a final decision. 

FCA, 31 March 2016 

FCA guidance on voluntary redress schemes under the Competition Act 1998

The Financial Conduct Authority has published finalised guidance, which explains how they will exercise powers to approve and enforce redress schemes under the Competition Act 1998. The FCA has powers to approve such schemes where prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements or abuse of dominant position have been infringed. These provide firms with an opportunity to offer and administer redress and thereby curtail court proceedings. Under section 55L of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the FCA may also impose schemes on firms

FCA, 30 March 2016

FCA - overall complaints fall by 1.4% but PPI complaints rise

The Financial Conduct Authority has reported that financial services firms received 2.11 million new complaints between July and December 2015, according to new data they have published.FCA, 30 March 2016

PRA consultation on underwriting standards for buy-to-let mortgage contracts

The Prudential Regulation Authority has published a consultation (CP11/16) on underwriting standards for buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage contracts. This concerns a draft Supervisory Statement of its expectations of minimum standards by PRA regulated firms when underwriting BTL mortgages. It does not apply to BTL lending by persons subject to the FCA's MCOB rules nor consumer BTL under the Mortgage Credit Directive Order 2015. The paper refers to concerns that lenders might overly relax their criteria and therefore put at risk their own prudential safety and soundness. The PRA proposes the use of an affordability test in the form of an Interest Coverage ratio or an Income Affordability test. The consultation runs until 29 June 2016.

Bank of England, PRA, March 2016

UK

Boost for small businesses seeking finance because of government data sharing scheme

HM Treasury has announced that the small and medium sized businesses (SME) credit data sharing scheme will make it easier for new challenger banks and alternative finance providers to check credit worthiness of potential business customers. In this regard, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget on 16 March 2016 that Biztech, Funding options and Funding Xchange would be designated finance platforms. Further, the Government has also made designations in respect of nine banks and three credit reference agencies under the Small and Medium Sized Business (Credit Information) Regulations 2015.

HM Treasury, 1 April 2016

SRA updates Handbook with new consumer credit regime

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has announced that it has updated its Handbook with a new consumer credit regime. Solicitors fall under the new regulations where their consumer credit activities are intrinsic to the legal services they provide. Firms should note that transitional arrangements put in place by the FCA have now ceased to have effect.

Solicitors Regulation Authority, 1 April 2016

Banks and building societies develop new code to help support bereaved families

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has announced a new code of practice to offer help and support for bereaved families. The six principles include a "one-stop" notification system for relatives in the case of bereavement.

BBA, 30 March 2016  

BoE FPC policy meeting statement

The Bank of England (BoE) has published a statement from a Financial Policy Committee meeting held on 23 March 2016, looking at financial stability, credit conditions and resilience. The BoE states that risks stemming from domestic credit have risen beyond their low levels following the financial crisis but are not yet "elevated".

The Bank of England, 29 March 2016

EU

FCA response to EC Green Paper on retail financial services

The Financial Conduct Authority has published its response to the European Commission's Green Paper on retail financial services. The Commission is seeking to identify the barriers to an integrated and competitive single market for retail financial services and in particular, looks at the obstacles that prevent consumers and providers from purchasing or offering the best services available in the EU. According to the FCA, inconsistent application and enforcement standards across the EU continue to be an issue in this regard and it calls for supervisory convergence.

FCA, 1 April 2016