Warning FCA’s remit could clash with new guidance body

The Government has expressed concerns that adding “financial inclusion” to the remit of the new single public guidance body could confuse its role with the FCA’s.

A consultation is currently underway to confirm details of the single body which will replace Pension Wise, The Pensions Advisory Service and The Money Advice Service, schedule to come into place in late 2018.

An amendment to the legislation was tabled in the House of Lords in a debate this week to also charge the new body with promoting financial inclusion in the UK.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Kramer argued that it would be a “serious lost opportunity” for the body not to concern itself with financial inclusion because “it is in contact with people and is therefore aware of them in a way that, for example, a formal regulator such as the FCA can never be”.

However, Lord Young of Cookham, the Government’s Lords spokesman, said that the move risks “duplication and confusion” with the FCA’s current objectives.

He said: “At the moment the Treasury and the FCA have responsibility and the relevant powers to intervene when the financial services market fails to supply affordable products and services. Against that background, the attempt in the amendments to give the body a remit over financial inclusion risks duplication and confusion.

“I think noble Lords will be aware of the FCA’s work in the area of financial inclusion. It is of the utmost importance that this progress is not impeded by unnecessary confusion over the role of different public bodies.”

The amendment was eventually withdrawn, but Lords said this could be revisited later.