Insurance in Financial Services UK
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On 14 September, the EU Parliament voted to reject the EU Commission’s Delegated Regulation on the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation (PRIIPs). This is the first time that the EU Parliament has formally rejected technical rules on financial services legislation. The Delegated Regulation, based on the final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) prepared by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), dated 31 March 2016, was rejected as “so flawed and misleading that it could actually lose [retail investors] money”. MEPs overwhelmingly passed the resolution rejecting the RTS (by 602 votes to 4, with 12 abstentions), calling for the EU Commission to submit a new RTS taking into account the EU Parliament’s concerns about the text. The Parliament also called on the EU Commission to postpone the application date of PRIIPs.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its further consultation paper on the future of payment protection insurance (PPI) complaints. CP 16/20 adds further detail to the regulator’s plans to bring the ongoing issues raised by the historic sales of PPI to an orderly close, with a final date for making new complaints now estimated for June 2019.
The Senior Insurance Managers Regime (“SIMR”) is high on the agenda for many insurance companies’ Audit Committees, with directors looking for assurance on whether this key regulation has been successfully implemented and embedded.
Culture in financial services firms has moved towards the top of the agenda for regulators, investors and consumers in the wake of excessive risk-taking by some firms in the run-up to the financial crisis and a string of misconduct scandals. Despite this, there can be a tendency on the part of some in the industry to see culture as “someone else’s problem”. A Deloitte survey on culture in banking carried out in 2013 found that 65% of senior bankers believed there were significant cultural failings across the industry, while only 33% believed the same of their own bank.
The FCA published its 2016-17 Business Plan on 5 April. The document is shorter and less detailed than in previous years, with only a brief Risk Outlook section, and makes limited announcements of new work. This may reflect the fact that the new CEO, Andrew Bailey, will not join the FCA until July, although as a member of the FCA Board, he will already have had an opportunity to influence the Plan. Like last year, the FCA has continued with its magic number of seven priority areas, rolling over five areas and prioritising two new areas – wholesale markets and the provision of advice.
The Insurance sector has a high potential exposure to the downside risks of a Brexit. A highly integrated regulatory framework across EU, highly globalised organisations and large balance sheets exposed to market volatility mean that Boards are considering the risks already and investors, analysts and regulators are beginning to focus on where risks may lie.
Some say that technology revolutionized knowledge. Once controlled by a privileged few, knowledge is now becoming available to everybody. What if the same were about to happen with trust?
Defining vulnerability and ensuring staff understand and apply the definition has long presented a challenge to firms.
One of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) main observations, in its occasional paper (number eight), was an acknowledgement that vulnerability is difficult to define and that currently firms apply a range of definitions. It concluded that vulnerability itself is a very fluid, changeable state but for some individual consumers it can indeed be a permanent state. Nonetheless, it made clear that the firms need to work around these difficulties as access to services for all consumers is seen as central to core conduct.
We explore some of the challenges a firm may face when implementing a vulnerability definition across an operation.
With the end of the final authorisation landing slots looming in early 2016, the majority of firms in the consumer credit market will have now submitted their applications for Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation.
But what comes next?
Affordability of credit and the way firms assess this is a key focus area for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is using the authorisation process as a means of gathering information on the affordability assessment processes used by firms. It is likely to use this information to determine whether or not further rules or guidance are required in this area. This blog explores the insights that we have gained from both our client work and our interactions with the FCA. So what have we learnt and how should the affordability assessment rules be applied in practice?