FCA has published a discussion paper on its approach to SMEs as users of financial services. It follows concerns that some firms’ SME clients may experience poor outcomes across a wide range of scenarios, including high-impact cases such as the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products. FCA is trying to review the way SMEs are treated in FCA rules and whether the protection afforded to SMEs is broadly right. FCA seeks views on whether:
- SMEs experience poor outcomes in relation to any specific products, services or distribution channels;
- more SMEs should be eligible to complain to the FOS and, if so, whether the FOS award limit should be increased from £150,000;
- FCA should make its rules more consistent across the products and services used by SMEs; and
- FCA should encourage voluntary industry codes of practice relating to SME treatment. To that end FCA expects a revised version of the Lending Code to be published in spring 2016.
The deadline for responses is 18 March 2016. (Source: FCA DP15/7 – Approach to SMEs)