UK Regulatory Update — Issue 2: product and promotion intervention

In the second issue of our eight step-by-step guides to the new regulatory landscape, we take a look at two of the significant new powers granted to the new conduct regulator, the FCA. In keeping with the judgement-led and interventionist approach promised by the new regulators, from 1 April 2013 the FCA will be able to intervene on the sale of products with immediate effect and ban firms from making particular financial promotions.

These new powers support a profound shift of regulatory focus that positions the FCA as a product regulator. To date, a narrow list of products such as UCITS aside, the FSA has not played this role. Its rules have been promotions and sales focussed resulting in an over-reliance on TCF and Customer Outcomes to address product issues. The obvious challenge to setting up a ‘product regulator’ is that an all-encompassing rules-based product regime is impracticable to operate and stifles innovation. The new FCA power navigates cleverly around this issue by allowing the FCA to swiftly impose product focussed rules on a surgical basis where it sees mischief develop…

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