Wheatley: Competition can help improve standards

Robyn Hall

November 9, 2012

Wheatley outlined the FCA’s new focus at the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ annual conference earlier this week.

He said: “It’s clear to me that competition can make a huge contribution to improving standards in financial services. Better competition can deliver better products, better value and more choice.”

And he added that better competition is partly about removing the barriers to entry of new players coming into the system.

But Wheatley cautioned that promoting competition doesn’t mean adding more firms to the market.

He said: “At its peak there was lots of competition in the mortgage market but can we honestly say that it was effective and good for the consumer?

“In fact it is probably right to say that there are too many lenders, too many products and that standards were dragged down issues that now the Mortgage Market Review hopes to deal with.”

Wheatley said the new regulator will carrying out more research into competition in the market before taking any action.

Paul Smee, director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, said it was the first time he had heard a regulator mention competition as a regulatory tool since approximately May 2008.

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