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The Analysis CSA

The future dynamic

Looking forward to an ever-changing role for the association, in an ever-changing business and technological environment

John Ricketts President,

Credit Services Association

In taking over as president, I am immediately struck by how far the Credit Services Association (CSA) has travelled over the last three years under my predecessor’s guiding hand, and the support of an incredibly hard- working board and association HQ.

True value

There is always going to be the challenge of demonstrating the true value that we bring to our members.

I know it is tempting to question the relevance of the association, our Code of Practice, and our relationship with the regulators in a post-Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation world. Statutory regulation is one thing, but membership of a trade body gives so much more: it provides a code that fills the gaps in a rule book and defines the way members should actually behave; it builds trust with clients and consumers, giving customers a right of redress that does not cost a Financial Ombudsman Service fee; and it is a much- respected badge of ‘respectability’ that is a pre-requisite of almost every client tender. The CSA, along with other bodies such as the British Bankers’ Association, UK Cards, and the Finance & Leasing Association, provide the ‘bridge’ between the regulator

of authorisation, and in ensuring an agreed understanding and interpretation of CONC. This is not, I would stress, about trying to safeguard the future of the CSA via the threat of a regulatory ‘big stick’. It is quite the opposite. But, clearly, we need to do even more to ensure that the good work we are doing, the influence we are achieving, and our lobbying success as a united and combined industry, is fully recognised.

Continue to listen

I am going to make it my job to ensure that we understand what members want of their trade body, to ensure our members understand what we are doing

and our members, an essential channel through which the FCA can communicate quickly and effectively in a way that would be simply impractical at an individual, business-by-business level. That ‘channel’ is critical, also, in ensuring our members know what the FCA expects, especially as we enter the ‘monitoring’ stage

March 2017 out of necessity.

A sizeable portion of the agenda the CSA has been working to has been dictated by external forces.

As a regulator, the FCA is much more resourced and active than the Office of Fair Trading ever was, and, whilst the vast >> 11

This does not mean, however, that we are not listening. At a time when membership fee income is dropping – primarily through the merger and acquisition of some of the larger players – we need to continually re-understand what our members want and need us to do. And that clearly goes well beyond even the most-respected Code of Practice.

I am going to make it my job to ensure that we understand what members want of their trade body, to ensure members understand what we are doing and, of course, to ensure we have the resources we need to deliver what you require. The last three years, and beyond, have been a period of intense change; a great deal of what we have done has been

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