In our first annual review of the Wealth Management sector and its regulatory environment, our team of sector specialists (lawyers and consultants, from various practice areas) have come together to report on the big issues and themes impacting Wealth Management over the last year, and to identify issues likely to top the FCA's - and firms' - agendas in the year(s) to come.
2020 was the year of COVID – viewed here through the lens of operational resilience and non-financial (mis)conduct. With Brexit having less impact on wealth managers than more international businesses, we've looked instead in depth at the potential impact of – rarely - highly relevant case law and what that might mean in terms of 'regulatory change'.
It's too early to say what – if any – impact Brexit will have but firms are already dealing with the impact of various 'scandals' in retail investments; most notably DB pension transfers and mini-bond mis-selling. COVID– and critical reports just before Christmas into regulatory failures – will increase the incentive (and political pressure) for the FCA to come out fighting in 2021 and beyond. We have therefore included commentary from specialists in contentious investigations and Enforcement work.
The current climate means we're inevitably seeing some smaller firms failing, plenty of restructuring and an uptick in consolidation and M&A activity. There will be further challenges in the year ahead; from macro factors like continued lockdowns and the economic impact of COVID, to the regulatory agenda across financial services, and more micro issues like crystallised regulatory risk and the numerous ways in which firms' - and their senior managers' - resilience is being tested.
Please contact the authors or editors if you want to discuss anything of particular interest or relevance.