ESMA Consults on Guidelines on the Assessment of Leverage Related Systemic Risks and Leverage Limits

The FCA has published its 2020/21 Business Plan, which is more concise than in previous years, outlining its immediate priorities during the continuing COVID-19 outbreak and its planned activities and areas of focus during the following 3 years.

The Business Plan acknowledges that the FCA had already planned to focus its resources on the areas of greatest potential harm identified in its Sector Views (updated in February 2020) and to transform its ways of working. Whilst the FCA will need to continually review its plans in light of the developing coronavirus crisis it will continue to work to protect consumers and financial markets.

In summary:

  • The FCA has taken, and continues to take, rapid action in response to immediate shocks and urgent interventions as a result of the coronavirus crisis. These interventions will be reviewed and placed on a firmer footing as appropriate, together with an assessment of their longer-term economic impacts on society.  The Regulator will focus its actions on making sure that:
    1. markets function well
    2. the most vulnerable are protected
    3. the impact of firm failure is minimized
    4. it tackles scams, and
    5. consumers and small firms are treated fairly


  • Over the medium term the FCA will focus on ensuring consumers:
    1. Have reliable and safe access to payments systems to receive pay/benefits, to pay bills and access cash as required;
    2. Can make effective investment decisions and are not exposed to risky/poor value products;
    3. Do not get into unaffordable debt, or are treated well where this is unavoidable; and
    4. Have access to fair value digital products.

  • The FCA will work on transforming its own operations for the digital age and will learn lessons from its reaction to the coronavirus crisis, in particular around making quick decisions. This will include how data and intelligence is collected, how firms are authorized and supervised and developing the systems and technology solutions the FCA uses.


  • Cross sector work will cover:
    • The UK’s withdrawal from the EU
    • Climate change
    • Innovation and technology
    • Operational resilience
    • Financial crime, and
    • Culture in financial services


  • The FCA will shape the future regulatory framework, through discussions with the Government and other stakeholders, which must reflect the UK’s future outside the EU and lessons learned from the current framework. The FCA also notes that the current framework is too focused on rules and process and should be more principles and outcomes focused.

The FCA’s 2020/21 Business Plan can be found here.

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