Friday, 20 December 2013

2013: Levelling The Financial Playing Field

Six years of financial crisis have finally produced some of the legal changes that will expose the cosy world of regulated financial services to innovation and competition. But there is plenty more to do.

During 2013 we've seen consumer credit move to the FCA, the regulation of peer-to-peer lending, and the FCA's proposed rules for how the 'crowd' can lend and invest. And this week the Banking Reform Act implemented the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking and key recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

Some may see these changes as a magnificent display in closing the stable door. But I prefer to see it as an opening of the floodgates. 

After all, the European Commission is consulting on its own approach to regulating online financial marketplaces; and the US states are competing with the Securities Exchange Commission on the regulation of crowd-investing.

So 2014 will see a lot of focus on enabling the growth of alternative financial services, at the same time as the banks become even more preoccupied with solving their own problems at their customers expense.

That bodes well for a market that grew 91% in 2013.

But, like I said, there's still a lot of work to do.

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