Shayne Halfpenny-Ray takes a look at what’s new on the policy and public affairs front this month
With news of a Covid-19 vaccine and aspirations that a sense of normality will return in 2021, the UK government is hopeful of a return to in-person life by Easter. On that positive note, here are some key events we could see early next year.
The government is still consulting on the Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework Review. This is phase two of the consultation process, which began in 2019, and is looking at what the regulatory framework for the UK outside of the European Union (EU) could or should look like. It also comes at an opportune time when government is also reviewing Solvency II.
The former consultation will run until 19 January and already, figures including Craig Tracey MP (pictured), chair of the Insurance and Financial Services All-Party Parliamentary Group, have made interesting suggestions around international benchmarking to be introduced into the regulator’s responsibilities, mirroring other competitive markets like Australia, for instance.
Regardless of a final outcome – as I write this we have already gone past a series of ‘end talks’ and are still yet to have an agreement – we will have left the EU by January 2021. For many, the difference between a deal and no deal won’t necessarily be apparent on day one – but the government continues to urge people who do business in the EU to prepare for that relationship change, which will be more apparent.
As we leave the operating norms of the EU, insurance professionals should check how this transition could affect their business and their clients if they have not already done so.
One thing we should expect soon will be the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) published guidance on vulnerable customers. This has followed extensive consultation during the last two years, which the CII has fed into along with many other individual firms and organisations.
This will likely set the tone for the way the FCA will view vulnerability and how it expects firms to meet the needs of their customers. When this guidance is published by the FCA we will analyse it and discuss how this impacts insurance professionals.
At the end of November, the Treasury, the FCA and the Bank of England announced a joint taskforce working to facilitate investment in what they called “productive finance”. That term means “investment that expands productive capacity, furthers sustainable growth and can make an important contribution to the real economy”, so an example of this could be green technology, infrastructure or research and development.
The UK will be hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26 next year and the government has already unveiled its next ambitious list of policy proposals on how its going to drive us towards its 2050 net-zero target, and insurance has a huge part to play within this. Membership will be drawn from a diverse set of market participants, including but not limited to banks, asset management firms, pension funds, insurance companies, corporates, infrastructure firms, wealth managers, investment platforms and trade associations representing relevant sectors and markets.
The CII will continue to monitor and update you of any developments across these areas and beyond. Please get in touch if you require any further information.
Shayne Halfpenny-Ray is policy and public affairs adviser of the CII