UK regulator balances the looks for current accounts
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched proposals to help people compare the service levels for personal and business current accounts.
The FCA proposes that firms offer information on how long it takes to open an account; how long it takes to replace a lost, stolen or stopped debit card; and the number and type of major operational or security incidents.
Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, says: “Customers tell us they think ‘all banks are the same’ and so they are discouraged from looking for current accounts offering better performance. We know from our consumer research and the CMA’s [Competition and Markets Authority] report that consumers and small businesses are really interested to know about the service their bank or building society offers compared to other firms.”
The basic idea is for easier access, drive competition and improve service quality.
This consultation represents one strand of a broader programme of work looking at retail banking which includes action on five recommendations made to the FCA by the CMA in its 2016 market investigation report into retail banking, including operational performance metrics. The CMA is pushing for open banking – a popular phrase at present.
In a separate announcement, the FCA has unveiled a consultation regarding the government-proposed Office for Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS).
This sets out draft expectations about how professional body supervisors can meet their obligations for anti-money laundering (AML) supervision.
In March 2017, the UK Government announced its intention to create OPBAS as a new function within the FCA. The Government has proposed that OPBAS oversees the adequacy of AML arrangements of 22 professional bodies. This month, the government published draft regulations that will give powers and responsibilities to OPBAS.
OPBAS’s approach will include developing an understanding of the workings of the different bodies and sectors they supervise; and liaison with other bodies. The FCA expects OPBAS to be up and running by the beginning of 2018.