Regulatory Initiative Grid sets out multi-regulator pipeline of planned/ongoing regulatory initiatives in the financial services market

04 November 2021. Published by Jon Bartley, Partner and Jonathan Charwat, Partner and Whitney Simpson, Of Counsel

At the beginning of the week, a number of UK regulators published this year's version of the 'Regulatory Initiatives Grid' which aims to provide a combined pipeline from a number of regulators on ongoing and planned regulatory initiatives affecting the financial services market.  Regulators involved include, amongst others, the Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulation Authority, Payments Systems Regulator and Information Commissioners Office.

The multi-regulator report is useful as it not only sets out everything coming down the line from the regulators but it also makes it easier to get a complete picture of the various initiatives, who they affect and when they are happening. The dashboard tool and drilldown filter is also useful to navigate the information particularly as there 134 initiatives included in the report.

Here are a few high level comments from some of our regulatory team on the initiatives:

  • Insurance – Jonathan Charwat

    There are nine specific initiatives aimed at the insurance market and as a sector accounts this only accounts for 7% of all initiatives across all sectors. However, as the insurance market will surely attest, this statistic does not give the full picture as ongoing initiatives on pricing practices, product governance and operational resilience are arguably going to be some of the most ground-breaking and significant regulatory change projects for the insurance market for some time.

    In addition, a good deal of the multi-sector initiatives listed in the report will also affect the insurance market (such as the initiatives on consumer duty, outsourcing and third party risk management, financial promotions as well as the data protection initiatives mentioned below). Finally, the report states that a consultation is pencilled in for early 2022 in respect of the ongoing review of Solvency II.

  • Credit and Payments – Whitney Simpson

    Credit – There are 28 initiatives across the banking, credit and lending multi sector. This is double the amount (or almost) compared to the other single sectors contained in the grid.  One of the initiatives aimed at enhancing consumer protection and which has a high indicative impact on firms is the HM Treasury consultation on Buy Now Pay Later or Deferred Payment Credit products which runs until 6 January 2022.

Payments – The grid contains 12 initiatives which are aimed at promoting competition, innovations and protections in payments to improve the quality and security of services provided to consumers and businesses including, a consultation on updates to the Payment Services and Electronic Money Approach Document and Technical Standards, and Access to Cash legislation. One of the initiatives not included on the grid is the Payment Landscape Review as this review was concluded by HM Treasury on 11 October 2021. That's not to say the initiative has concluded though as to how HM Treasury plans to take forward the identified areas of focus is still to be determined.

A number of the multi-sector initiatives will also impact both of these markets so it’s a jam-packed regulatory landscape ahead.

  • Data protection – Jon Bartley

    The grid includes an update on the recent activities of the Information Commissioner's Office, particularly the ICO's consultations on new guidance.  However, as almost all the ICO consultations were closed before the publication of the grid, these entries are not as helpful for organisations wishing to identify upcoming initiatives that they can contribute to. However, they provide useful flags of ICO initiatives, such as the Accountability Framework, which many organisations have used as a means of benchmarking their data protection compliance programmes. The guidance on international transfers is also an important development, with many FS organisations considering how to navigate data transfers post-Brexit, particularly when they are subject to both EU and UK GDPR.

    Arguably the most important recent development in data protection law has not been included in the grid, due to the fact that it is not an ICO initiative. However, the UK government is currently consulting on some material changes to the UK data protection regime in the post-Brexit landscape. The consultation, "Data: A New Direction", is open for responses until 19th November.

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