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FCA consultation CP 20-1 introducing a Single Easy Access Rate for cash savings

FCA consultation CP 20/1: introducing a Single Easy Access Rate for cash savings

Background

  • FCA consultation CP 20/1: Introducing a Single Easy Access Rate for cash savings; published by the FCA on 9 January 2020.
  • This consultation sets out proposals to make the market simpler and improve competition. This will help consumers know if they are getting a good deal, as well as protecting those that currently receive the lowest interest rates.
  • The FCA wants firms to focus more on how they treat their longstanding customers.
  • These proposals apply to firms that provide cash savings products and their trade bodies. These proposals will also be of interest to consumers of cash savings products, consumer organisations, and intermediaries such as financial advisers and price comparison websites.
  • The consultation period was originally 3 months with a deadline set for responses by 9 April 2020. This deadline was extended due to Covid-19-linked disruption.

Impacts

The FCA proposals are designed to maintain competition on new savings accounts by allowing introductory rates for up to 12 months. The proposals will also ensure competition brings benefits for longer-standing customers by creating a single interest rate no later than the date immediately after 12 months of the account being opened.

The FCA proposals would require firms to introduce a Single Easy Access Rate (SEAR) for their easy access cash savings accounts, and a SEAR for their easy access cash ISAs.

The FCA proposes to require firms to:

  • introduce a Single Easy Access Rate (SEAR), which is a single interest rate set by a firm for their easy access cash savings accounts, and a further rate for their easy access cash ISAs no later than the day after the first anniversary of the opening of the account, and
  • publish clear data on their SEARs so that third parties such as intermediaries and media organisations can highlight the rates between products and providers more easily.

Timeline with relevant dates to be logged on regulatory calendar

  • Consultation opened on 9 January 2020
  • Consultation closes on 1 October 2020
  • 31 March 2021: the possible Q1 suggested date for a related Feedback Statement or Policy Statement followed by implementation of changes to systems, processes and products

Next steps

Any respondents need to send comments to the FCA, either using its online response forms or by e-mail as shown in the Consultation Paper.

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