Insights UK Financial Conduct Authority publishes Business Plan for the year ahead

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has published its Business Plan for 2024/25, setting out its priorities for the year ahead. It marks the final year of the FCA’s three-year strategy aimed as “reducing and preventing serious harm”, “setting and testing higher standards”, and “promoting competition and positive change”.

The Business Plan retains the FCA’s 13 public commitments which are focused on reducing and preventing crime, putting consumer’s needs first, and strengthening the UK’s position in global wholesale markets. In more concrete terms, the FCA sets out ‘key activities’ that will begin this year, which includes investment in the FCA’s systems to target higher risk firms and activities, a review of firms’ treatment of customers in vulnerable circumstances, and ensuring that firms comply with the recently-introduced Consumer Duty, something the FCA describes as a “step change” in its expectation of firms. The FCA also commits to “encouraging and supporting innovation and evolving markets” by, among other things, working with the Bank of England to create the Digital Securities Sandbox (with applications opening this year), launching an intermittent trading platform by the end of the year, and collaborating with the Digital Markets Unit in the CMA on the new pro-competition regime for digital markets.

The Business Plan also provides a preview of a number of publications we can expect to see in the next year, including: the results of the FCA’s peer review of market abuse systems and controls in providers of Direct Market Access; a consultation on Portfolio Management in the context of environmental, social and governance priorities; and the outcome of its ‘Big Tech Call for Inputs on data asymmetry between Big Tech firms and other financial services firms’. There will also be a consultation paper clarifying the FCA’s expectations as to how firms should report operational incidents as part of its new operational resilience policy, a reflection of a wider concern touched on in the Business Plan about “increasing levels of systemic risk build up in the system due to reliance on critical third parties”.

To read the Business Plan in full, click here.