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FCA announces new business priorities with special focus on COVID-19

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced new business priorities for the year with special emphases on the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCA has stated that it will focus on enabling financial services businesses to support their clients and help them in avoiding scams. The regulator said, “Alongside HM Treasury and the Bank of England, the FCA has already made a series of interventions at unprecedented speed to protect consumers, firms and the markets. These have ensured that customers retain access to essential banking services and are able to benefit from flexibility on mortgage and other debt payments.”

According to the FCA, it will ensure the availability of financial services for the vulnerable, tackle scams, provide fair treatment for consumers and small firms, ensure the orderly functioning of the market and help in mitigating firm failures.

FCA Interim Chief Executive, Chris Woolard, said, “In a matter of weeks, coronavirus has altered the UK’s financial landscape dramatically. At times like this, it is more important than ever that the FCA leads the way on the protection of consumers, firms and the markets. Our Business Plan recognises the impact of coronavirus on the financial services industry while looking forward at how we transform the FCA’s operations in future.”

The regulator has charted four priority areas in the Business Plan that includes ensuring customers with safe and accessible payments, discouraging unaffordable debts, making effective investment decisions and negating unfair treatment in pricing and other terms.

It is also focusing on transforming its operations, including data collection, analysis, management, etc. It will also look into how firms are supervised and how unacceptable firms and individuals are stopped and removed from the regulated sector as quickly as possible.

Recently, FCA issued new guidance for the mortgage lenders, administrators and the small business lenders involved with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

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