The UK regulator has published its 2019/20 business plan, which identifies areas of key focus for the forthcoming year


FCA headquarters in London (Credit: FCA)

Brexit will be the top priority for the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the year ahead, as it aims to support an “orderly transition” from the European Union.

The financial regulator today (17 April) set out its stall for 2019/20 with the publication of the annual business plan, which identifies key points of order for the next 12 months.


Financial Conduct Authority says Brexit will be a big priority over the next year

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said: “Dealing with Brexit will be the most immediate challenge we face.

“But this plan also commits us to a stretching programme of work across the financial sector.

“In order to ensure we are a regulator that continues to serve the public interest, we need to adapt to the ever-changing environment.

“This is why the future of regulation is a key priority in this year’s business plan.

“We will be leading a debate about this with stakeholders so that we can keep pace with the developments taking place in the markets that we regulate, and in wider society.”

The FCA has also committed to playing a prominent role in shaping the global regulatory framework, alongside other national regulators and international partners.


Key targets for the FCA business plan

Brexit aside, four key areas of prioritisation were identified by the watchdog.

The first is culture and governance issues among financial services companies, with the FCA planning to extend its “senior managers and certification regime” to encompass all firms under its jurisdiction.

fca brexit
Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive (Credit: FCA)

This initiative was introduced in 2015 as a way of protecting consumers and strengthening market integrity by making employees at financial institutions more accountable for their conduct and competence.

Secondly, the regulator aims to ensure fair treatment of current and prospective customers, by closely monitoring the information they are given by finance companies.

It also plans to continue its work on improving operational resilience within financial markets, amid growing cyber security threats and the disruption caused by large-scale technological changes.

Finally, it will continue to focus on tackling financial crime and improving anti-money laundering (AML) practices by enhancing its use of data and technology.

Last week, the FCA handed out a £102m fine to Standard Chartered, in what was the second-biggest AML-related penalty in its history.


FCA business plan sets long-term priorities

A handful of broader, longer-term targets were also set out, which include examining the intergenerational challenge in financial services, assessing the future of regulation, and using data and innovation for the benefit of consumers.

The FCA has been piling more resources into its innovation strategies in recent years, including the establishment of a domestic regulatory sandbox and the global financial innovation network.

Alongside this business plan, the UK regulator has also published its research agenda for the forthcoming year, which encompasses five broad themes: household finance and consumer behaviour, securities markets, competition and innovation, big data and technology, and regulatory efficiency.