Is the FCA really in this with us?

28 May 2020

The regulator’s consultation on funding for 2020/21 is a serious error.

what point does the mantra ‘We’re all in this together’ begin to break down? I ask only because I don’t believe we’re currently at that point, but the concept of forbearance shouldn’t apply just to lenders and the mortgage payment holidays they are offering existing borrowers.

It has to extend beyond this and there needs to be a real belief that all stakeholders are playing by the same rules, extending the same understanding across the board, and giving all mortgage market firms the same chance to work through this period and come out the other side in a position to move forward.

I believe the chancellor, the Treasury and the government, despite some criticism, have introduced extraordinary measures to help as many people and businesses as possible. Some directors of limited company firms feel left behind, and I hope they can also utilise some of the support available to tide them over.

But the industry needs to feel that everyone is pulling in the same direction, especially with fees and regulatory payments. If the Treasury can do it when it comes to VAT or personal tax payments, surely the FCA can too in relation to its own funding.

It is disappointing to read of the regulator’s consultation on its funding requirements for 2020/21; it doesn’t seem to be in the same spirit. Seeking to secure more money, up 3 per cent, from home finance providers, advisers and arrangers in these times is a major misstep, especially when some businesses are fighting for survival.

While the FCA suggests 71 per cent of firms will continue to pay minimum fees, and there has been gifted an extension of payment terms from two months to 90 days, at the heart of this matter is whether the regulator should be asking the industry to collectively pay more for it at this time.

Positive communication and action are imperative – I can’t believe there is no one at the top of the FCA pointing out that asking for an increase in its annual funding requirement now is a serious error.

Bob Hunt

Blog Archive