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New city watchdog is ‘very different animal’ to FSA

Jenna Towler
Written By:
Jenna Towler

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is going in the right direction to becoming a “genuinely different” regulator and will put greater emphasis on competition, its chief executive Martin Wheatley has said.

Marking the 100th day since the birth of the new regulator, Wheatley told delegates at the Association of British Insurers Biennial Conference today that the FCA was on track to achieve what it had set out to do – become a new regulator.

He said: “One of the questions I was most frequently asked 101 days ago was: ‘Is the FCA going to be genuinely different from the FSA?’. We understand why people reserved judgement – the FSA needed to change.

“100 days later I think we are taking steps in the right direction. The FCA is in many areas a very different animal from the FSA.

“We’re not just asking: Is this product compliant? Does it tick every legal box? But actually: is the outcome good? Is the market competitive? And is fair treatment of consumers designed into products and culture?”

Wheatley said the regulator’s first 100 days were a “marker of what lies ahead”.

The FCA would put a greater emphasis on competitiveness within the industry with the best firms, products and services thriving, and the worst performing exiting the market.

“A market that works well for consumers and for firms will be of benefit to everyone and to the UK economy. We want consumers to be in in a position to drive healthy competitive markets so that they become the new normal,” Wheatley said.

The FCA has already announced a study into the general insurance industry and its add-on products in an effort to evaluate its competitiveness.

As part of the study the regulator will investigate what impact add-ons have on consumer behaviour and expectations, how firms respond to those, and whether poor market outcomes arise as a result.