This is the text of the welcome address as drafted and may differ from the delivered version. This address was delivered by our Managing Director, Chris Hemsley, on 9 May at the PSR Annual Plan event 2023.
Hello everyone, to echo Aidene, it really is nice to see so many of you here in person this morning.
Payment systems underpin our increasingly digital lives. They support productivity and have an important impact on vulnerability and inclusion.
The UK’s payment systems processed over £95 trillion in 2021, and the PSR has a critical role in ensuring they work well for people, businesses and wider society.
We protect people from fraud; we promote competition; and we make sure that, in a world of constantly evolving technology, payment systems support choice – so that everyone can make payments in ways that meet their needs.
We’re now covering a larger and more complex programme of work than ever before, in both scale and scope.
Guided by our five-year Strategy, we’re delivering positive change.
Our work on payment scams has already protected consumers from millions of pounds’ worth of fraud.
This year we’re working hard so that we’re ready to make the next step on prevention and protection a reality, as soon as new legislation turns on the powers we need.
This has the potential to really transform the fight against fraud – by putting incentives in place for more parties to act. Something that we are starting to see already, in anticipation of the changes. It also puts in place a system that will adapt over time and help us tackle fraud threats as they change over time.
Our card-acquiring market review is also delivering change for businesses.
Firms across the country will benefit from greater transparency and the ability to shop around more easily for the services they need to accept card payments.
This work is backed by our formal powers of direction and our role as a competition authority.
Which is why our ongoing monitoring and enforcement activity is important to raising standards of compliance. Here, our enforcement work has seen us issue fines totalling more than £40 million, sending a clear signal that we’ll take decisive action where people break the rules we oversee.
We are also laying the foundations for ambitious and transformative change in future.
This includes our work overseeing the delivery of the UK’s New Payments Architecture. We’re monitoring Pay.UK’s procurement and delivery of a new, payment system with enhanced functionality.
This will be an important new infrastructure that will support innovation, competition and a more diverse range of modern payment options. The key milestones of the competitive tender are now complete – and we are now moving towards regulatory clearances, contract award and delivery of the new system.
Meanwhile, as co-chair of the Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee, we’re working to see the full potential of open banking realised. As part of this we have a crucial role in ensuring that account-to-account retail payments bring opportunities for new services and allow more convenient and efficient ways to pay.
You can see this in our commitment to taking forward more flexible ways to pay – through our commitments to support Variable Recurring Payments. This has real potential to give people more control over their bills – something that is so important in the current cost of living crisis.
All this is part of a substantial programme of existing work that’s making progress towards the priorities set out in our Strategy.
And, we also have an eye further into the future.
Through data and intelligence gathering, we closely monitor issues that may affect our current Strategy, anticipating and responding to developments on the horizon.
Over the next year, I want to build on the progress we’ve made in terms of engaging in more and better ways with stakeholders across the sector.
Which is why events like the one today are so important. Hearing from you helps to inform our thinking and makes sure we have considered views from all our stakeholders. It helps us to understand better what is likely to happen next in payments.
The work we do matters: we create the conditions for a healthy payments ecosystem that works for people and businesses across the country. I look forward to working with all of you to continue that vital work. I hope you enjoy the event.