Pensions firms least satisfied with FCA

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Regulated firms have scored the FCA’s overall effectiveness 6.7 out of 10 with pensions firms reporting lower satisfaction in the regulator than other sectors, according to a FCA survey.

The FCA Practitioner Panel published the findings from its 2016 annual survey today, which more than 3,000 regulated firms completed between February and April.

The survey results showed satisfaction with the FCA increased slightly from 7.1 out of 10 in 2015 to 7.2 in 2016.

However, the long-term savings and pensions sector was shown to have lower levels of satisfaction in almost all areas of the survey. Its satisfaction with the regulator was 6.9 out of 10 compared to 7.4 in the wholesale banking sector and 7.3 in capital markets.

Pensions firms were also less satisfied on the FCA’s overall effectiveness with a mean score of 6.2 compared with 7.2 in the wholesale banking sector.

Long-term savings and pensions companies also felt that the information they have to provide for consumers is excessive and that communication from the regulator should be more tailored and easier to understand.

Overall, firms rated satisfaction with communication at 7 out of 10 while the pensions sector scored it 6.5 with more four in 10 firms giving a score of 6 or lower.

The survey says: “As seen elsewhere in this report, such a stark difference between long term savings and pensions firms and the rest of the industry suggests that there are specific issues at play in this sector. By exploring the ways in which this sector engages and communicates with the regulator, we can begin to understand how their experience might differ in this regard.”

Long-term savings and pensions firms also responded negatively to the impact of regulation.

Half of those firms (51 per cent) felt that regulation had reduced the type of business they conducted, compared with 34 per cent in other sectors.

Nearly half (47 per cent) felt the level of regulation was detrimental to consumer interests, compared with 30 per cent in other sectors, and 35 per cent felt that it restricted innovation within their firm, compared with 27 per cent across all other sectors.

Generally, respondents had lower confidence in the regulator’s ability to achieve its competition objective compared to its market integrity and consumer protection objectives.

The survey also found respondents wanted the FCA to improve the knowledge of its staff and supervisors, to regulate more transparently and to conduct more forward-looking regulation.