What does the new FCA mean for you?

Monday 1 April heralds a new era in financial advice as the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) comes into force with implications for all financial services firms and advisors. Unicorn Director, Mark Jones, looks at what it is and what it means for learning and development and compliance teams in the financial services industry.

FCA_mar13_webWith a renewed focus on putting the consumer back at the heart of regulation, the most critical task for businesses now is fully-grasping what the FCA is and adapting accordingly to make the most of the competitive advantages being thoroughly FCA compliant can bring.

First, how is the FCA going to differ in powers and remit to its predecessor, the FSA, and, most importantly for your business, how is this going to impact on what you do day-to-day?

Here’s a taster of what the new FCA is about…..

The new watchdog will take over the FSA’s responsibilities for policing markets, protecting investors, and supervising 25,000 smaller financial companies.

The FCA is focused on three distinct outcomes:
•    Consumers get financial services and products that meet their needs from firms they can trust.
•    Firms compete effectively with the interests of their customers and the integrity of the market at the heart of how they run their business.
•    Markets and financial systems are sound, stable and resilient with transparent pricing information.

It is now about looking at regulation from a consumer’s point of view to ensure that the regulator is focused on the people it seeks to protect. This in turn will help to restore reputation and trust in an industry tarnished by mis-selling scandals and other problems.

The FCA has enhanced tools to help deliver on this promise, including the use of product intervention powers to help ensure the products that firms offer meet the needs of consumers.

The FCA will have new partners to work with and its relationship with the new Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will be crucial. The FSA Handbook will be split between the FCA and the PRA to form two new Handbooks; one for the PRA and one for the FCA.

*For a full overview, download our useful ‘The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): the future of conduct regulation’ guide.

Furthermore our new ‘Introduction to the FCA’ course can help all firms and advisors get to grips with the differences between the FCA and FSA, what is regulated by the FCA and how it regulates firms, the FCA’s objectives and how the body operates in practice, as well as the new FCA Handbook, in particular focussing on approved persons and controlled functions.

Further FCA-ready regulatory modules are coming very soon to continue to support firms and advisors in understanding their requirements in becoming FCA-compliant and how that can help boost their own professional standards, reputation and business potential.

‘Introduction to the FCA’ is already live on our SkillsServe platform and as part of our Regulatory Essentials eLearning suite.

We have worked closely with our long-standing industry partners and SMEs to make sure the courses we are producing and updating to guide firms and advisors into remaining FCA compliant go far beyond the basic tick-box requirements, and provide a basis for genuine, tangible personal and professional development in this new regulatory environment.

It is only because of those relationships, and our unrivalled experience in the financial services sector, that we have been able to provide this content so quickly and effectively to really help firms and advisors get a jump on the new FCA requirements.

Through appropriate learning, firms and advisors can achieve, maintain and evidence core skills or competence in specific subjects. This is just the latest subject area that, at first, could be perceived as a challenge, but in reality should be faced as an opportunity to try to capitalise on the business benefits that proven FCA competence will unquestionably bring.

Contact 0845 130 5138 or email enquiries@unicorntraining.com to find out more.

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