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Compliance tip: Responding to the FCA’s Business Plan 

The FCA’s Business Plan and accompanying sector views provide the industry with valuable insight into the regulator’s concerns and areas of focus for the year ahead. But how can firms ensure they respond appropriately?

Do not view your sector in isolation: Firms can no longer afford to look at their sector in isolation.

As well as its cross-sector priorities, the regulator is now starting to consider issues once thought of as sector-specific across the whole body of its work, including value for money and remuneration.

Consider non-regulated activity too: the FCA has the power to act outside of the regulatory perimeter in certain circumstances where it feels activity could undermine confidence in the UK’s financial markets, or negatively impact regulated activity. Firms whose regulated activity makes up only a small proportion of their activity (for example, consumer credit firms) should bear this in mind and consider the impact their non-regulated activity has on the regulated aspects of their business.

Take action: the Business Plan contains rich detail about the regulator’s planned activities, including rough timescales. You should look at audit areas of regulatory interest in advance of its planned activity to ensure you are compliant and meeting regulatory expectations. If areas of weakness are uncovered, clearly document the steps taken, or planned, to address them.

Firms should use the details contained within the Business Plan to help prepare their own activity effectively, and efficiently allocate resources for the coming year.

Phil Deeks is technical director at TCC 

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