Ian and Bill’s monthly review – July

The past month has seen momentous events unfold in Britain and for its European partners. Although the UK has undoubtedly entered a new era, negotiations may well not start for some time and political uncertainty is likely to dominate the country’s agenda for the foreseeable future.

Whatever your view on the referendum, there needs to be a clear plan in place ahead of any formal talks, for what happens next for UK Financial Services. We are carefully considering the impact that ‘Brexit’ could have both in the immediate future and over the longer term – we believe we are well-placed to respond to challenges that may emerge for both us and our clients over the coming months and years.

Indeed, the past month has already been an incredibly busy and exciting time with the announcement that Tech Mahindra has acquired us and will now help to support our future ambitions. This comes at a great time for the business, where we’ve announced another year of significant growth and will be welcoming over 250 new recruits to the Group, joining us on the latest chapter in the company’s history. We have a great opportunity to accelerate our growth and continue to evolve as a business, and we are really looking forward to be working with Tech Mahindra and the wealth of experience and support it brings.

In other news, the FCA recently announced a call for input into their crowdfunding rules as a first step in their planned post-implementation review. The paper raises a number of potential concerns and calls for input and views to assess whether any changes are required. We already support a number of peer-to-peer providers and are currently engaging with our clients and industry bodies to formulate our full response.

The FCA paper recognises that the market has shown rapid growth and raises a concern around the potential for customer detriment, including where the market has grown beyond its original regulatory scope and become more attractive to the mass public.  The FCA has also shown some concern at the speed to market of new providers with potentially insufficient focus on risks and their mitigating controls, as well as how consumers are protected in the event of a platform collapse.  At Target, robust risk management processes that identify and mitigate emerging risks and ensure protection for our clients and investors alike are integral to our regulatory approach.

The housing market also continues to be fascinating to observe as the latest CML figures show. With the new second property stamp duty now in full effect, May saw a 4% monthly increase in gross mortgage lending as the sector continues to digest the impact of the controversial policy change. While lending continues to be considerably lower than the rush experienced in the first quarter, focus within the industry will shift to what impact the EU referendum result will have on house prices and lending trends. As we are sure many buyers and lenders would agree, we are very much in a period of wait-and-see.