The FCA, smartwatches and mortgage fee transparency

By Teamspirit on Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What makes us love finance so much this week?
Well, we love that the FCA are taking action over their mistakes, that webcams and smartwatches are helping people live better lives, and that mortgage fee transparency is important.
The FCA and maintaining standards

Recently, the FCA's handling of a life insurance review press briefing went particularly badly, with the FCA making several severe mistakes that resulted in multiple complaints and a full investigation. One view is that the FCA has fallen beneath the very standards it has set, but it is encouraging to see that the FCA are clearly taking steps to ensure these mistakes never happen again.

While it is a positive that the FCA recognise and are keen to avoid similar incidents in the future, it is ultimately the consumer that will pick up the tab, which stands as a harsh example of what happens when a regulator isn't working to the standard it should.

We love that the FCA are taking serious steps to remedy what has occured, and hope that the damage done can be repaired. The repairs will come in the form of the FCA no longer using the same PR briefing techniques used for retail, and their reworking of their approach should help to assuage the fears of those concerned about the FCA's capability.
CML and Which? aim for mortgage fee transparency

The transparency of mortgage fees is currently an issue - which is why the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and Which? are collaborating in order to create a set of measures that will aid the transparency, understanding and decision-making process for those seeking mortgages who want to consider the overall costs.

Additionally, the push for transparency is a precursor to the Mortgage Market Review (MMR). The MMR will also be removing the requirement for intermediaries to assess affordability, removing the non-advised sales process, and ensuring that most interactive sales are to be advised. In addition to this, lenders are now fully responsible for assessing the customer's income, and whether or not they can afford the loan.

These changes, only some amongst a considerable list, will seek to ensure that the market is sustainable and works in favour of the customer.

We love that consumers are being given as much information as possible when it comes to mortgages, and that this process is being faciliated by a relevant, pro-consumer body like Which?.
Health Shield launches virtual GP service

In a progressive display of technology adaption, health cash plan provider Health Shield has announced the launch of Virtual GP Surgery, a service that offers its members virtual GP consultations via webcam. This is an exciting new use of technology for the health sector, although we'd reocmmend investing in a high-definition webcam to optimise any potential diagnosis.

Virtual GP services could help those who find seeing their doctor difficult, either due to working hours or a lack of appointment slots. It will also start to differentiate Health Shield from other companies, and hopefully this may encourage more of them to look into how they can make healthcare more accessible by making use of existing technology.

We love that health companies are looking to innovate in the way that GP services can be provided to people, and to hear that prescriptions can be delivered to your doors is a welcome time-saver.
Employee pension contributions now available through smartwatches

True Potential have launched a system that pays advisers to establish schemes where employees dipping their toes into auto-enrolment can make extra contributions from their smartphone - or even their smartwatch.

This tech-savvy solution to making pension contributions that little bit more accessible is called ImpulseSave, which captures exactly what it is - allowing people to contribute towards their retirement when they get the urge, and not several hours later.

New technology is going to allow for a lot of interesting pensions education/interaction in the years to come. Contactless payments, smartwatches and even the Internet of Things could allow for a significant expansion of the range of methods we use to interact with financial services. It'll be interesting to see if the average pension contribution rate is affected after the advent of launches like True Potential's.

We love that this system takes the concept of an impulse purchase and applies it to saving for one's future.

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