The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have released their latest business plan for 2020/21.
The plan outlines 5 key priorities:
- Transforming how we regulate
- Enabling effective consumer investment decisions
- Ensuring consumer credit markets work well
- Making payments safe and accessible
- Delivering fair value in a digital age.
It is encouraging that the plan devotes a portion of strategic focus to battling financial crime. The FCA plans to implement changes in line with the National Economic Crime Plan including making greater use of data to identify firms or areas that are potentially vulnerable and will continue to take enforcement action on serious misconduct, particularly where there is a high risk of money laundering. They also intend to test how well professional body supervisors in the legal and accountancy sectors have embedded AML strategies.
Fraud prevention is a top priority. The FCA is focused on "ensuring that firms meet our requirements to have effective systems and controls to detect, disrupt and reduce the risk of financial crime".
It is also encouraging to see the implementation of a new registration and supervision regime for cryptoasset activities. This entails the FCA supervising businesses that carry out cryptoasset activities to identify and assess any risk of money laundering or terrorist financing in particular.
In addition, the FCA's ScamSmart campaign focuses on mitigating consumer harm arising from scams, targeting four main types of fraud – pensions, investments, online fraud and loan fee fraud. We are likely to see a spike in such frauds in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak (see our previous article here for more information), so the ScamSmart campaign could assist victims of COVID-19 related frauds.