U.K. to Create New Payments Regulator (Oct. 10, 2013)
The U.K. government has decided to create a new regulatory body for retail payment systems that will be charged with ensuring a level playing field in the noncash payments market by promoting modernization, innovation and meeting the needs of consumers—all of which might otherwise be stifled by a lack of competition, according to Her Majesty’s Treasury.
Robert Courtneidge, chairman of Prepaid International Forum and global head of cards and payments for international law firm Locke Lord LLP, tells Paybefore the new regulator will go beyond the scope of the Payments Council, an industry group that has been in place to self-regulate and led the failed effort to eliminate checks. “It is hoped [the new regulator] will be a breath of fresh air for the industry,” says Courtneidge. “It is also due to regulate beyond what is regulated today, so the schemes, the switches and the payment networks will all come under its watchful eye.”
“The government has decided that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) should be given the role of Payment Systems Regulator. The Payment Systems Regulator will be established as a separate body under the FCA, with its own managing director and board,” according to Her Majesty’s Treasury report, “Opening up UK Payments: Response to Consultation.” The report expects that, pending requisite approvals, the regulator’s powers will be in effect by late 2014, and the Payment Systems Regulator body will be fully operational by the spring of 2015.
The Payments Council, which continues to operate, welcomed the government’s plans and Chief Executive Adrian Kamellard noted that the council shares the government’s focus on continued industry collaboration.