FCA consults on fees policy: FCA is consulting on its policy proposals for its 2015/16 fees and levies. The paper covers in particular:

  • fees for the Payment Services Regulator;
  • raising the pensions guidance levy, and further pensions guidance levy proposals;
  • recovering costs from applicants for authorisation;
  • fees for second charge mortgage lenders and intermediaries moving from the consumer credit regime to the mortgage regulation regime in March 2016;
  • a new annual fee for approved reporting mechanisms and other entities that provide transaction reports to FCA;
  • new charges for access to information on the Mutuals Public Register;
  • the methodology for calculating block fees for designated professional bodies;
  • adjustments to the consumer credit fee framework; and
  • drafting changes and policy for fee-raising from newly authorised recognised investment exchanges.

FCA asks for comment by 2 February 2015. (Source: FCA Consults on Fees Policy)

FCA publishes guidance guarantee rules: FCA has published its near final rules on retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee. It will finalise the rules as soon as possible after the Pension Schemes Bill gets Royal Assent. The rules will create standards for Designated Guidance Providers outside the Handbook and make changes to the Glossary and the Conduct of Business Sourcebook primarily to explain a firm's obligations when communicating with a retail client about open market options and the need to explain clearly and prominently the pensions guidance. FCA expects the rules to take effect from 6 April 2015. (Source: FCA Publishes Guidance Guarantee Rules)

FCA summarises crowdfunding rules: FCA has set out a summary of the rules that apply to loan-based crowdfunding platforms. (Source: FCA Summarises Crowdfunding Rules)

FCA highlights conduct risk issues for boards: Robert Taylor of FCA, speaking at a wealth management conference, highlights conduct risk issues that FCA feels boards need to focus on. He said these are Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), anti-money laundering and sustainability. He spoke also about building trust with clients. (Source: FCA Highlights Conduct Risk Issues for Boards)

FCA makes credit broking fees rules: FCA has made rules setting out the standards credit brokers must meet when charging customers fees. It has made the rules without consultation as it has seen market practices that create a high level of risk of consumer detriment. The new rules will amend the Supervision Manual and, mainly, the Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC) from 2 January 2015. The new rules will:

  • ensure all communications with consumers relating to credit broking of a regulated credit agreement other than one secured by a mortgage on land clearly disclose information on the firm, making it clear what the registered name of the firm is and that it is not a lender; and
  • prohibit firms from demanding payment unless they have sent the customer a credit broking information notice including prescribed information and received confirmation from the customer acknowledging the notice and its contents.

(Source: FCA Makes Credit Broking Fees Rules)

FCA consults on MTF rulebook guidance: FCA is consulting on guidance for multilateral trading facilities (MTFs). It expects all MTFs to have their rulebooks publicly available on their websites. It has carried out a thematic review of MTF operators' rulebooks and found a number of good practices. It is now writing to the CEOs of MTF operators asking them to consider the good practices it has outlined, and to be sure they can show they have considered them. FCA asks for comments by 16 January 2015. (Source: FCA Consults on MTF Rulebook Guidance)

FCA publishes new reporting transparency Q&As: FCA has published a new list of questions and answers for alternative investment fund managers regarding the reporting of transparency information to FCA. The document aims to provide information about:

  • who must report transparency information;
  • what transparency information FCA requires;
  • how FCA will collect transparency information;
  • registering and using GABRIEL to report transparency information; and
  • key dates on which FCA systems will support reporting of transparency information.

(Source: FCA Publishes New Reporting Transparency Q&As)

FCA holds enforcement conference: At FCA's enforcement conference:

  • Martin Wheatley spoke on the commercial importance of culture to industry. He spoke of the need for regulatory activity to stay focused on future standards as much as past "indiscretions" and for business leaders to ask sensible questions to ensure the consumer's interest is at the heart of business; and
  • Tracey McDermott spoke on learning the lessons of the past as an industry. She spoke on how lessons have clearly not been learned, and how firms have continued to blame a few individuals who have acted outside firm policies. She stressed how conduct has to be embedded throughout organisations. She also spoke on whether larger fines were making any difference. She said the levels of the fines were not really the issue, and that what is more important is ensuring accountability for the right people - whether individuals or firms. 

(Source: Martin Wheatley Speech at FCA Enforcement Conference and Tracey McDermott Speech at FCA Enforcement Conference)