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The amendments in this group relate to key considerations that have underpinned the design of the new conduct regulator. The Government have been clear that regulation should focus on making financial markets work well, and on securing better outcomes for consumers.
Access is critical. Without access to a bank account, for example, it is difficult for individuals to participate fully in the economy and even in society. To support access, Lords amendment 25 adds a new “have regard” to the Financial Conduct Authority’s competition objective. Therefore, when considering whether effective competition is in the interests of consumers, the FCA must have regard to
“the ease with which consumers…including consumers in areas affected by social or economic deprivation, can access” the services they may wish to use.
That reflects discussions in the other place, and it is right to make it clear that the regulator’s duties embrace those affected by deprivation.