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The Rule of Thumb – a blog by Philip King

6 March 2014

Last Friday afternoon an email from the FCA hit my inbox with links to two documents. Ah, I thought, some pleasant light reading for the weekend!

The first document was the FCA’s ‘Detailed Rules for the FCA regime for consumer credit’. Inside the FCA explains the contents of the document which sets out “the rules we have now made and explains whether they have changed since we consulted on our proposals last year. Firms can use this, and our Handbook of rules and guidance, to see what our expectations are of them.” The drawback to this downloadable PDF file is that it is 646 pages long and, by way of example, has four pages just for the list of abbreviations. I was greatly relieved not to be a Compliance Officer and I have enormous sympathy for those who are at a time of such great change.

The second document was ‘Being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – a guide for consumer credit firms that are new to FCA regulation’. At a mere 40 pages, this guide provides a high-level summary of how firms that are new to the regime will be regulated from1 April 2014.

I’m not prone to praising government documents and reports, and I can’t say that I’ve even started to delve into the detailed rules yet, but I did have a quick read of the ‘being regulated’ guide and I have to confess I was impressed. It’s written in plain English, key points are well highlighted, and there are clear calls to action throughout. For example, it sets out the FCA standards and principles with details of expected outcomes in a way that is unambiguous and easy to follow.

These aren’t words that can always be used in describing government communications so, in a spirit of giving credit where credit’s due, then I feel duty bound to congratulate the FCA on this particular publication. If you’re at all uncertain about the implications or impact of regulation moving to the FCA, you have some serious and urgent catching-up to do but I’d commend this document as a good starting point and it can be found here.

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