11 Mar 2020

The 2020 budget is the first under Boris Johnson's government and includes some interesting elements for the financial services industry. The detail shows the government's ambition to be at the cutting edge of financial regulation and evidences a commitment to ensure the regulatory framework can keep pace with advancing technologies. Not only this but the implementation of the new Regulatory Coordination forum shows that the government wants to ensure that the UK's regulators work effectively together. The Forum's Regulatory Initiatives Grid will ensure that a two year forward look of major upcoming regulatory initiatives which will affect the financial services sector is maintained. In a plethora of regulation, this will prove a useful one stop shop for firms' horizon scanning and resource planning for the implementation of regulatory projects. It will also hopefully bring to light the administrative and operational burden many firms face when trying to implement regulatory projects for many regulators at the same time.

A key trend in the UK over the last year has been the concept of financial capability. Proponents of this will welcome the focus on access to cash and financial inclusion within the budget report. The Government is planning to update the Credit Unions Act to permit credit unions to offer a wider range of products and services. This will increase competition in the market place but has the potential to open up new products for those ordinarily excluded from mainstream banking. This together with a commitment to ensure that those who require it can still access cash is a major step forward for many in society.

New technologies and concepts were also on the government's agenda. Support for the regulation and advancement of Cryptoassets, digital currencies, payments and open finance will ensure that UK firms have the ability to be at the forefront of emerging technologies but at the same time consumers can be assured that they are adequately protected with appropriate regulatory frameworks in place to do so.

Overall, it seems that the Budget shows a commitment to ensure that the Government updates and implements regulation in a way which ensures that the UK's financial services market remains competitive, future proof, safe and inclusive.