• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
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  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
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  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

New FCA business plan: in a nutshell

The Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) published its Business Plan 2016/17 on Tuesday, 6 April 2016. The FCA Business Plan sets out its work programme and priorities for year. It explains how it intends to meet its three operational objectives of protecting consumers, promoting competition and enhancing market integrity to meet its overarching strategic objective of making markets function well.

Risk outlook

As was the case last year the FCA has not published a separate Risk Outlook, but has instead included this as part of the Business Plan. The FCA notes that macro-economic, socio-economic, regulatory and technology developments   have   created   new   demands,   risks   and opportunities for both financial services consumers and firms. It also specifically notes the UK’s  referendum  on  remaining  part  of  the  European Union  will  take  place  on  23  June  2016.  The FCA has stated that as part of its normal activities it will consider the immediate and short-term consequences of any vote to leave the EU, such as the potential for increased market volatility.

FCA’s priorities

The FCA identified seven key priorities for 2015-16:

  • Pensions
  • Financial crime and Anti-Money Laundering
  • Wholesale financial markets
  • Advice
  • Innovation and technology
  • Firms’ culture and governance
  • Treatment of existing customers

In relation to pensions the FCA plans to conduct consultations on a cap on early exit charges and on the proposed new a consumer protection model for the secondary annuities market, along with the launch of a review on Retirement Outcomes.

In terms of financial crime and anti-money laundering the FCA plans to complete work on a proportionate and effective response to de-risking by banks along with an increased focus on firms and individuals who perpetrate investment scams.

On the wholesale financial markets front, the FCA plans to continue work on the Fair and Effective Markets Review (“FEMR”), implementing the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID II”) and completing the asset management market study to assess if competition is working effectively and whether investors get value for money when they purchase asset management services.

Under the heading of advice the FCA hopes to deliver recommendations from the Financial Advice Market Review (“FAMR”), which was established with the aim of identifying ways to make the UK’s financial advice market work better for consumers, and continue its supervisory work on professionalism and the suitability of advice.

In terms of innovation and technology the FCA states that it will continue its work with Project Innovate and launch the “Regulatory Sandbox” that will give firms which meet the eligibility criteria a safe space to test innovation without immediately having to meet all the normal regulatory requirements. The FCA will also consider whether to proceed with a market study on Big Data in general insurance markets, and it will communicate expectations on operational resilience to firms. The FCA will continue to work collaboratively with the Treasury, the Bank of England and other authorities to ensure a joined-up and risk-based approach to cyber-crime.

In relation to firms’ culture and governance the FCA intend to continue to embed the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) and Senior Insurance Managers Regime, begin developing policy on extending the SM&CR to all regulated firms, and continue to review the regulatory framework governing remuneration.

As regards the treatment of existing customers the FCA intends to implement key recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority retail banking investigation (expected to be published in summer 2016), consult on a second package of remedies from the cash savings market study in 2015 and continue supervisory work on the fair-treatment of legacy customers in the life insurance sector.

Core activities and tasks for firms

In addition to the seven key priorities outlined above the FCA also outlines some additional key work streams that include issues around sustainable regulation, payment protection insurance, prudential regulation and ring-fencing.

The FCA has set out some further detail on its core day-to-day activities including authorisation of firms carrying out regulated activities, supervision of firms and enforcement, its competition powers and responsibilities, supervising exchanges and administrators of benchmarks and overseeing primary and secondary markets.

Firms should take the FCA priorities into account when developing their strategies and as part of their governance processes. Boards and senior management should investigate to what extent these risks apply to their activities, and how they are taken into account when trying to ensure appropriate risk management procedures.

The table below is taken directly from the FCA Business Plan 2016/17.

It lists a number of thematic reviews and market studies which the FCA has publicly committed to, with timings for key delivery points in 2016/17. The list is not exhaustive and the FCA will undertake additional market-based work throughout the year in line with the priorities identi­fied in the Business Plan, and as necessary to address emerging issues that arise in the year.

For more information please contact Lucy Frew or Chris Boylan.