Lessons learned in year one of the FCA regulatory sandbox

Lessons learned in year one of the FCA regulatory sandboxThe FCA’s regulatory sandbox enables firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live user environment, while ensuring that appropriate protections are in place. It opened for applications in June 2016. Since then, the FCA has received 146 sandbox applications. Of these, 50 were accepted and 41 progressed to testing which has been run in two cohorts. The report sets out the sandbox’s overall impact on the market including the adoption of new technologies, increasing access and improving experiences for vulnerable consumers as well as lessons learnt from individual tests that have been, or are being, conducted as part of the sandbox.

FCA reveals findings from its first Financial Lives survey

Financial Lives is the FCA’s largest tracking survey of consumers and their use of financial services, drawing on responses from just under 13,000 UK consumers aged 18 and over. The aim of the survey is to provide the FCA with unique insights into people’s experiences of retail financial products and services The findings are intended to help the FCA meet its objectives. For all age groups the proportions showing characteristics of vulnerability are around the national average of 50%, except that for those 75 and over the proportions showing vulnerable characteristics are higher:  69% for the 75s and over, and 77% for the 85s and over. The FCA will publish an overarching strategy ‘Approach to Consumers’ later this year and will also be releasing weighted data tables with the report so that other organisations will be able to use the survey findings for research purposes.

FCA report on renewal transparency

The FCA has reported on the implementation of the ‘transparency in insurance renewals’ requirement which came into effect in April 2017. Firms are required to ensure that the last year’s premium and additional shopping around messages are presented as key information in a clear prominent position and in a way which draws attention. The FCA says it observed good practice where firms had made changes to their renewal documentation in line with the rules to help consumers make informed decisions. However, there were several examples of firms failing to comply fully with the rules.

Insurance Distribution Directive – Feedback to CP17/7 and near-final rules

The FCA has issued a Policy Statement (PS17/21) setting out its near final rules to implement the Insurance Distribution Directive with effect from 23 February 2017 based on the feedback received to its consultation first paper (CP17/7). The statement covers:• the scope and application of the IDD, • professional, organisational and prudential requirements for insurance distributors• complaints and out-of-court redress• conduct of non-investment insurance and pure protection businessA further Policy Statement will be issued to cover rules for product oversight and governance, conduct rules for insurance-based investment products and the new Insurance Product Information Document.

CMA’s final report for its digital comparison tools market study

The Competition and Markets Authority has published its final report following a market study into the use of price comparison sites and other apps. The year-long examination found that these sites offer a range of benefits, including helping people shop around by making it easier to compare prices and forcing businesses to up their game. But where sites are not working in people’s best interests, the CMA is taking action. The CMA has also laid down clear ground rules for all sites on issues such as communicating how they plan to use people’s personal data and clearly displaying important information like price and product description.

FCA publishes findings from its Ageing Population Project 

The FCA has published an Occasional Paper outlining the findings from a project that explored how the ageing population would impact the Financial Services industry. The paper reviews the public policy implications of having a population which is getting older and the resulting impact on financial services. The document also includes actions which the FCA and industry could take to better support older people. The FCA has set out some ideas for firms to consider in ways that fit their business models, such as looking at product and service design, customer support, and reviewing and adapting strategies.

Dear CEO letter re consumer credit complaints handling

The FCA has published a Dear CEO letter for the attention of all firms who hold consumer credit permissions. This followed the conclusion of a project in to how consumer credit firms deal with complaints. The FCA expects consumer credit firms to review their complaints handling arrangements in light of the letter. In any future contact with a firm, the regulator may ask for evidence of their compliance with our dispute resolution (DISP) rules. This includes details of any review they have carried out on their complaints handling arrangements following the letter.