The City regulator’s interim chief executive Christopher Woolard has stressed that there is more work to be done to protect retail investors.
Woolard (pictured) talked about the business plan that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published in April, which focuses on retail investments, payments and protections for the consumer credit market.
“We’ve set up a business plan which sets out what we’re doing around the Covid-19 emergency and gives some clear areas of real focus for us,” Woolard said in an FCA podcast.
“One of those is around retail investments where there is still an awful lot of work that needs to be done to make sure we have a really good basis for protecting consumers.
“We have work still ongoing around the consumer credit market which has been a focus for us for many years but I think it’s a really good moment to take stock and to make sure we have good protections in place.”
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He said that the plan also focuses on payment firms and big data and the growth of open systems that might affect pricing for consumers in the future and how competition works in markets the FCA regulates.
Woolard said the pieces of work in the business plan are long-term issues over the next three years and have a degree of resonance to what is happening during Covid-19.
“Retail investors are looking for better rates and returns and see their savings and investments impacted by what’s happening with the coronavirus and the current situation,” he added.
Woolard said the regulator has helped keep the markets open and orderly and has attempted to fix aspects not currently working well, for example, through its business interruption insurance.
“The authorities, and by that I mean the Treasury, the Bank of England and us, are trying to build a bridge between one side of this crisis and the other in terms of its economic impact and how we can ensure as many firms and consumers can come out of the other side in the best shape possible,” Woolard said in the podcast.
“What we’ve wanted to do is to get the firms we regulate to focus on serving their consumers through what’s a very difficult time, and also in particular looking at those who are vulnerable.”