In response to the findings, the regulator’s Managing Director, Hannah Nixon, has published an open letter to the UK payments community:
Dear payments community,
It has been a little over two years since the PSR opened its doors for business and fifteen months since we became fully operational.
During this time, we have taken great strides to improve the way payment systems work for users and our statutory objectives have helped create a framework that has guided our programme of work and the culture of our organisation.
We have been proactive in engaging with the payments community. This is important in ensuring that we understand the concerns of our stakeholders and the context in which we are working. It is also important in helping us communicate what we are aspiring to achieve. We feel that in our first year of operation, we have made considerable progress in this endeavour. Thank you for the reciprocal engagement from you, the payments community.
Over the course of the last year, we have held over 700 meetings with stakeholders across the payments community, as well as establishing the Payments Forum which holds a specific focus on developing a strategy for innovation where the industry needs to work together.
Effective stakeholder engagement is important to us. We are therefore keen to understand what the industry thinks of us as an organisation, what we stand for, the work we do and the outputs that we deliver. To be truly successful, we need to hear from relevant organisations on the specifics of our approach and the work we are undertaking. As such, we commissioned an independent agency, BritainThinks, to conduct research into how the industry views our current progress. A summary of the research findings has been published today, alongside our annual report.
Overall, we have been pleased with the level of engagement from stakeholders who took part in this survey and the responses that were generated. We received feedback from over 100 stakeholders across the industry and the findings showed a broad endorsement of our existence and our overarching ambitions, while our open, consultative approach and our professionalism in our day-to-day operations were also cited as positive characteristics. This feedback has been particularly pleasing to hear as we have committed considerable effort to engage with our stakeholders over the last two years.
But we did not conduct the research just to understand what we are doing well. We commissioned it because we wanted constructive feedback to help us learn and improve as an organisation, and we were pleased to have received just that.
Among the key issues raised by our stakeholders was the need to improve clarity about our expectations for the industry and increase transparency in our processes. There was also a feeling from some that we have been slow to act so far and that we need to improve industry understanding of the work of the Payments Strategy Forum and its relationship with the PSR.
In response to the feedback we received, we have already started to implement change into our approach so that we can address these concerns head on.
We recently published our annual plan that outlines our approach over the coming 12 months. This is the first step in an increased emphasis on better communicating our overarching strategy. In addition, to help more clearly articulate the relationship between the PSR and the Payments Strategy Forum, we have helped build a new website which defines our role as the secretariat and the on-going activity being undertaken by the Forum.
As well as this, our programme of activity is starting to bear fruit. As an evidence-based regulator that operates in a very complex and technical industry, it is important for us to be thorough in our work. That work is now starting to come to fruition and, since the feedback was given, we have published the interim findings of two market reviews (IMR and IAMR), clarified the adoption of the EU’s IFR in the UK, and issued guidance on the Payment Account Regulations.
We are on a journey and moving forward we want to continue to embrace the feedback we have received. Building on our successes and addressing areas which need to be developed further.
We want to carry on learning and improving as an organisation. In doing so, we will be transparent in our approach and clearly articulate our strategy so that we remain closely engaged with the industry.
We’re the only payments regulator in the world, which means we are continually breaking new ground and carving out our own path in order to successfully deliver our objectives. However, by keeping the lines of communication with the payments community open and transparent, we hope to work together to achieve the kind of success I believe that we are all striving for.
Managing Director, Payment Systems Regulator.