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On 19th March, the FCA published its Business Plan for 2024/25, detailing the work it plans over the next 12 months to help deliver the commitments in its Strategy.

It's plan acknowledges challenges for the year ahead including:

  • Higher interest rates and persistent inflation: Inflation has fallen back relatively sharply in recent months but remains above the Bank of England’s 2% target. The restrictive stance of monetary policy is weighing on activity in the real economy and leading to a looser labour market. Looking ahead, monetary policy will need to remain restrictive for sufficiently long to return inflation to the 2% target sustainably in the medium term.
  • Global financial risks: adjustment to higher interest rates can pose problems for firms in advanced economies when servicing their debts, with riskier market-based corporate borrowing particularly vulnerable. High levels of public debt in major economies could affect UK financial stability.
  • Geopolitical risks: remain high, dampening global growth and affecting shipping and trade, with the potential for shocks to cause severe disruption.

The FCA's stated focus for the year ahead will take into account the external environment and the new regulatory framework and plans are based on this being the final year of the FCA's 3-year strategy.  The Business Plan details it plans against its 13 public commitments (as shown in the graphic), which focuses on preventing serious harm, setting higher standards and promoting competition.  Specific issues it will prioritise include:

  • Protecting consumers by testing if firms are meeting the high standards set by the Consumer Duty, supporting people’s long term financial wellbeing through the Advice Guidance Boundary Review and making sure pension products deliver value for money.
  • Contributing to UK competitiveness and growth by improving the attractiveness and reach of UK wholesale markets, supporting firms to invest, innovate and expand through our innovation services and continuing to make it quicker and easier for firms to apply for authorisation.
  • Building on the significant progress already made to become a world-class data-led regulator by automating more of its analytics tools to help it detect and respond to consumer harms faster and working with firms on the safe deployment of artificial intelligence.

We'll be publishing a series of post focusing in more detail on many of the FCA plans against its commitments, so watch this space for more. 

For more news and insight in to financial services regulation, subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.