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FCA: ‘We’re on the cusp of real change in financial services’

The FCA says the developments it is seeing through Project Innovate suggests the financial services industry is catching up with the game-changing technology seen in other sectors.

In an interview with City AM, FCA executive director of strategy and competition Chris Woolard says he expects financial technology to continue to develop at a pace, with larger players adopting technology and smaller firms scaling up or being acquired by bigger firms.

He says: “From a consumer’s perspective, this is maybe quite an exciting time where we begin to see change in the financial services industry that is perhaps not dissimilar to some of the changes we might have seen in other industries that have been impacted by technology in the last 15 to 20 years.

“So far, largely financial services has been quite resistant to that and we’re seeing a period open up where, actually, we could see some real change.”

But he adds: “There’s always a danger of having a crystal ball. All predictions are always proven wrong.”

Project Innovate was launched in October 2014 to help firms bring new products and services to market. The regulator has also set up what it calls a regulatory “sandbox”, where firms can trial their services in a limited way with the FCA before launching to the wider market.

Last year the sandbox received 69 applications, of which 18 were selected, including proposals from HSBC and True Potential.

The second wave of applications has seen 77 firms apply, including some from outside the UK.


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. FCA: ‘We’re on the cusp of real change in financial services’ – Again!

  2. We’re still awaiting some real (positive) changes in financial services regulation which, to date, the FCA has shown no signs of delivering. So far, the FAMR has been just hot air with no meaningful proposals having emerged. I’m not one to slate the RDR as an unmitigated failure but certain elements of it should be repealed (or, at the very least, considerably toned down) whilst in some areas the FCA clearly still needs to up its game, not least by way of measures to identify and home in swiftly on dodgy practices which all too often result in boatloads of uninsured liabilities falling on the rest of us by way of the FSCS. The FCA needs to (be forced to) move away from its entrenched position that all the industry’s maladies are the fault of others but never a consequence of its own failures ~ the “sorry history” to which Andrew Bailey referred shortly after taking office.

  3. “…..he expects financial technology to continue to develop at a pace”

    So maybe eventually machines will give the advice. Upshot being that when things go wrong you may have to whistle for redress and the worst that happens is that the machine is dismantled.

    A dystopian future is not everyone’s idea of heaven.

  4. No Mathew
    Its about the industry.

  5. Will the FCA be able to keep up?

    Chris Woolard has the excuse already set up if not, ‘All predictions are always proven wrong’

    In this instance we must ask the Regulator to prove to everyone that ‘Past Performance’ is indeed only an ‘indicator’ for the future.

  6. Mechanisation and technological advances usually mean job losses.

    The questions is whose? Advisers or regulators? I bet I can guess which.

  7. Stewart Hutcheson 20th March 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Worth maybe also reading this MM article from 6th March by Ian McKenna where he makes some interesting comments re the FCA’s part in the progress until now.

  8. Promises promises

  9. I wish the FCA would focus on today and ensuring funding for compensations etc is done in a morally acceptable way. Frustrating the FCA is hell bent of trying to innovate when they should take care of the basics first, like justice and fairness across fee blocks.

  10. No comment from the regulator about the importance of considered and appropriate advice then. Of course not

  11. As we know “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” the FCA has a statute of limitations of 1 year !! Who allowed that, this stupid profession that who.

  12. The FCA cannot cope with the requirements of making the perfect market for advisers and consumers alike. I can’t help but feel it’s primary objective is to find new ways to claw cash from the banks ….

  13. I just read an article about the FSCS paying out £3m for yet another failed non-regulated firm and then moved to this for a more positive read ……. pah!

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