Parliamentary procedure. Competitive financial services. The shipping forecast. Three very important things that are unlikely to get the pulse racing, but at least two are actually worth paying attention to.
I’m not talking about why you need to know the latest storm forecast for Viking.
You may have guessed by now, but I am, of course, talking about financial services, and more specifically the draft Financial Services Bill currently passing through the Houses of Parliament.
New financial regulators
The beginnings of new financial law may sound deadly boring, but when finalised, the Bill will take the current financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority, and replace it with two new bodies; the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The PRA will have responsibility for the stability of the big banks, insurers or large investment firms. In other words, it will keep an eye on the books of the big players.
Whereas, the FCA will specialise in protecting consumers and promoting confidence in everyday financial products and markets. This is the regulator that will be of most relevance to you and me, as it will be keep an eye on the products we use everyday like mortgages and credit cards.
A new financial consumer champion?
Still here? Hopefully you’ve made it through the past 199 words of technicalities and now want to find out why all this matters to you. The fact of the matter is that governing the financial industry is not a subject that arouses passion or vigour in most people. We can probably all agree that it is important but, even after the fallout of 2008, is regulation something we really think about until it all goes wrong? Probably not.
Luckily, the government wants the FCA to be more proactive, get better outcomes for consumers and even be known as a “consumer champion”. This would stand in stark contrast to the FSA who were often too slow to react to problems. Take the mass mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance for instance.
We want a proper financial watchdog and want the changes to be about more than just a shiny new logo and swapping a ‘C’ for an ‘S’ above the door.
So I’m here to find out what you think. What do you want to see from the financial regulator? Do you think current financial laws works in your favour? What should a financial watchdog do more of and what should it do less of?
Changes to regulation like this don’t come along very often. Help us tell the regulator what you want. You may even want to listen to the shipping forecast afterwards.