The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has updated its guidance advising firms what they need to do to prepare for Brexit.
The key message is that firms must make any necessary changes to protect customers from the negative impacts of leaving the EU, whatever the outcome of negotiations. Firms are also being asked to ensure that they communicate all the necessary information to their customers in a clear and fair manner.
"It is important that firms are finalising their preparations to deal with leaving the EU," said FCA executive director of international Nausicaa Delfas. "While we appreciate there remains uncertainty, firms should consider the impact of all scenarios on their business, and on their customers.
It is important that firms are finalising their preparations to deal with leaving the EU"
"As a guiding principle, we expect firms to adhere to our regulatory standards throughout. To assist firms, we have updated the information on our website."
For all UK-based firms, particularly those operating within the European Economic Area (EEA), the FCA highlights changes to UK legislation, data sharing and passporting as some of the main issues that may have to be dealt with. To help identify the extent to which Brexit may impact their business, and which areas to focus on, firms can visit this list of questions on the FCA website.
Aside from general information, the FCA has put forward dedicated pages for UK-based general insurers and intermediaries; life insurance, pensions, and retirement firms; retail banks and payment firms; retail investment firms; as well as wholesale banks, markets, and asset management firms.
In general insurance, for instance, the regulator said a key focus for the sector in case of a hard Brexit is to minimise the potential disruption for customers based in the European Economic Area (EEA) or policies with certain EEA risks.
"Firms should also ensure that their UK customers understand if their insurance policies are affected and are treated fairly," stated the FCA. "Motor insurers should inform consumers of the necessity for green cards, ensuring they communicate in enough time for customers to be able to receive one before exit day if required."
The regulator has already outlined a series of proposals to help prepare the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit and also called for a Brexit implementation period.
It has also been granted temporary transitional power to delay changes made under the UK Withdrawal Act.
"The FCA continues to prepare for all scenarios - our focus is to ensure there is as smooth a transition as possible when the UK leaves the EU, and that markets function well," Delfas added.