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New FCA to Regulate Consumer Credit?

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is facing calls from the Financial Services Consumer Panel to transfer control of consumer credit regulation to the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The Financial Services Consumer Panel says the FCA, who will succeed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) upon enactment of the Financial Services Bill, should be given full responsibility for the regulation of retail financial services, including consumer credit. 

The Panel believes that a two stage process is necessary starting with the FCA taking over responsibility for regulating credit under the Consumer Credit Act.  A second review would  further examine when it would be appropriate to move to an integrated Financial Services and Markets Act-based regime.

Adam Phillips, the FSA Consumer Panel’s chairman said :

“If the FCA is an effective consumer regulator, they would be able to intervene in the issues we have seen developing. A single regulator looking at all the conduct issues in financial services has to be a good idea.”

Gillian Guy, the Citizens Advice chief, said:

“It is vital . . . that not only lenders but also debt collectors, brokers, debt managers and retail lenders selling insurance products are regulated by a single body.”

Director general of the FLA Stephen Sklaroff said:

“Whether or not regulation transfers to the new FCA, the regime which the FCA will inheritin the deposit and savings markets is not appropriate for credit.”

A spokesman for Which? said :

“Key protections in the Consumer Credit Act must be maintained.”

A spokesman for the OFT said:

“The government needs to consider the evidence and determine whether and where change is needed. We are engaging with the government about what improvements we think would make a difference.”