Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from the FCA, CMC Markets, SmartSearch, HMRC and more.
Growing numbers of whistleblowers, reveals FCA
The UK regulatory body Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed that it received 291 reports from whistleblowers in the third quarter of 2022. Most complaints recorded were related to compliance issues.
Most whistleblowers who made reports provided contact details, while 37 per cent chose to do so completely anonymously. The most common method of reporting was the online complaints reporting form.
Dr Henry Balani, head of industry and regulatory affairs at Encompass Corporation, commented on the news: “Whistleblowing allows organisations like the FCA to receive and investigate allegations of wrongdoing. From data breaches to anti-money laundering and compliance issues, it remains vital that employees are able to report malpractice anonymously. The latest data shows a rise in reports, with this likely to be just a snapshot of the real picture. Still, organisations too often lack the robust processes or infrastructure to manage compliance effectively.”
Cambridge offers most entry-level finance jobs
Cambridge is the city with the most entry-level finance job openings per capita, revealed financial services provider CMC Markets.
The city beat London to the title with 13.5 jobs per 100,000 people. London had the second highest, with 7.2 entry-level finance jobs per 100,000 people. Behind the capital sat Oxford with 5.55, narrowly beating Norwich’s 5.44 entry-level finance positions per 100,000 people.
The CMC Markets data also considered the cost of living, with specific attention to rent costs. Birmingham scored 3.15 entry-level jobs per 100,000 people but had the lowest cost of living on the list. Birmingham’s monthly average cost was £1,269.89, including rent for an apartment outside the city centre.
SmartSearch is officially a ‘Great Place to Work’
Digital compliance solution provider SmartSearch has been certified as a ‘Great Place To Work’. Based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, the company employs more than 160 staff to support the anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance needs of 5,700 clients.
SmartSearch provides leisure facilities such as an on-site gym, pool table, table tennis and gaming area to all employees. SmartSearch also looks to encourage continued professional development, with a company-wide mentoring programme.
Collette Allen, chief operating officer at SmartSearch, commented on the news. She said: “We’re so proud to receive this prestigious accreditation and see our ethos and approach to business recognised by both our employees and the global authority on workplace culture. As we grow, we’ll continue to explore ways to support and nurture our staff and create opportunities for them to develop and reach their full potential.”
Rising wages to increase pension tax relief
Rising wages look set to drive the amount of tax relief on pension contributions higher in the coming year, according to data published by HMRC.
The government expects pension income tax relief to rise to £27billion in the upcoming tax year as wages. The main causes of increases in pension tax relief over recent years were found to be Auto-Enrolment and wage growth.
Becky O’Connor, director of public affairs at PensionBee, commented: “The government’s evaluation of pension tax relief as a benefit people are mostly unaware of suggests the system may be on the slab for changes, particularly as it is expected to cost the government more as a result of wage inflation this year.
While it would be a greater incentive to save more into a pension if people understood it better, tax relief goes on, quietly offering a significant and necessary boost to workplace pension contributions – particularly as the Automatic Enrolment minimum, at 8 per cent, is not as high as it should be.”
UK banks criticised for failing to address risk management system issues
The regulatory arm of the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), has criticised UK banks for failing to tackle issues with their risk management systems.
The PRA stated that these issues have continued, despite regular messaging around addressing the risks that arose following the collapse of a major hedge fund in 2021.
Dr Henry Balani also commented on the news. Dr Balani said: “In uncertain economic times, it’s more important than ever that regulators work closely with banks and financial services organisations to improve risk management. All too often, manual systems remain in place for managing complex and time-consuming tasks related to anti-money laundering, risk and compliance. This approach is no longer fit for purpose.
“It’s time to wake up to the crucial role that innovative technology, and particularly automation, can play in improving and modernising risk management, and enabling UK banks to be ensured of effective and efficient compliance. Doing so will not only save time and money but will also help protect banks and their customers in increasingly challenging times.”