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CEO Breakfast with Chris Woolard the key points

Chris Woolard of the FCAChris Woolard, Director of Policy, Risk and Research at the FCA provided a useful insight into current thinking at Canary Wharf at the ABI’s CEO Breakfast last week.

The key takeaway points from the event include:

  • We can expect that future FCA market studies will not all be the same as the recent general insurance add-ons study – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to analysis and interventions. 
  • Market studies are not focused on identifying poor conduct by individual firms – they are about looking at the bigger picture of market dynamics, such as the value chain and sales practices.
  • The FCA recognises that claims ratio is an imperfect measure of value for money for insurance products, and the position on this is not settled. However, some products have a very low claims ratio, which begs the question whether people should buy them in the first place, and how can ‘light be shined’ on value.
  • The FCA is still planning to conduct a market study on retirement income products, despite the major changes to the landscape announced in last week’s Budget. It will also look further at the scope for non-advised guidance services in relation to annuities and other products.
  • The FCA regards price regulation as a crude tool and is reluctant to make regular use of it, based on the experience of trying to set an appropriate price cap for high-cost credit.
  • Finally, having multiple regulators working on competition issues presents a challenge. But the FCA says it has a good relationship with the Office of Fair Trading, will have a duty to coordinate its studies with the new Competition and Markets Authority and is about to publish a joint guide with the Pensions Regulator.

The issues discussed integrate well with the ABI's new paper on the FCA’s competition remit (pdf 230kB). The paper makes recommendations to the FCA and to the industry, to help deliver the common goal of making competition work in the interests of consumers.

Last updated 01/07/2016