New FCA handbook and FS register: Welcome to 21st Century
The FCA has updated and consolidated its Handbook and FS register.
The changes not only include a much-needed facelift but also some useful new features.
The FCA Handbook
The Handbook is now easier to navigate. It has a new timeline feature which should help identify relevant dates when changes have occurred. This will be helpful when pointing out that the rules and standards have changed over time. Previously, we would have to invite readers to re-set the 'as at' date.
'Toggling' the links to the statutory instruments that brought about particular rules still doesn't help identify the consultation papers and policy statements that brought them about.
The Handbook has been amended so that glossary definitions pop up in a box within the screen rather than taking you to a new screen. This will make reviewing the Handbook significantly easier for those like us concerned with its precise definitions.
The FS register has taken a big step forward in attempting to help protect consumers against unauthorised and potentially fraudulent firms. For the first time, unauthorised firms now appear on the register. These are highlighted by their unauthorised status in red accompanied by a warning. Previously, such information could be sourced by reviewing the warnings published within the News section on the FCA website. The improved accessibility of this information will help consumers check that the firms they are entrusting to purchase financial services products from are authorised and are not simply a scam. This may not be sufficient to stop so-called clone firms but it all helps.
The register now includes consumer credit firms that have interim permission, so you do not have to search the Consumer Credit Interim Permission Register separately.
Whilst these are only modest improvements, any attempt to make navigating the Handbook or help protecting consumers should be encouraged.