Chris Hemsley's speech at the Westminster Business Forum - 23 January 2020


This is the text of the speech as drafted and may differ from the delivered version. This speech was delivered at the Westminster Business Forum: Payments, policy and regulation – infrastructure, innovation and end-user priorities, in London on 23 January 2020. 

Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak here today. I’m Chris Hemsley, the Managing Director of the Payment Systems Regulator.   

I am privileged to have been appointed to this post in an organisation that already has a successful five-year track record in a critical sector that underpins all of our day to day lives. But the payments sector is facing considerable challenges, now and in the very near future. I want to see the PSR play its full part in meeting those challenges.   

Now I have been in post for a little over 100 days – and it has certainly been a busy and interesting 100 days!  

I have used this time to listen to you - our stakeholders - on how you want to see the PSR play its role: what we should focus on; and how can be better at what we do.

You have not been slow to share views with me – including about what you want us to do differently.

Today I want to talk to you about how we are acting on that feedback across some of our key projects.  

Collaboration across regulators

First, you have told me that you want a coordinated and joined-up approach across the payments regulators. Now this is – in practice – something that has been happening – with close working between us, the FCA, Bank of England and, of course, government. But it is not perhaps always sufficiently visible and it is an area where we can always do more.

Indeed, only yesterday, the PSR board was discussing our forward workplan and the long-term challenges facing the sector, at a session where we benefited from the active participation of colleagues from both the FCA and Bank of England. 

We are also playing our part in coordinating the impacts of our regulation on the financial sector: the so-called Air Traffic Control problem of managing changes. We announced in July that the PSR was working with the FCA and PRA to improve coordination. For our part, we will continue to consult on our proposals, listen to what you have to say, and be prepared to change where the evidence supports that. This is exactly what we have done in the implementation of Confirmation of Payee for example.

PSR strategy

Some stakeholders also talked to me about getting more clarity about PSR’s role – and how it complements the work of the other regulators.   On this, we are now developing a clearer statement of our strategy, so that you can all have a better understanding of what we are seeking to achieve and how we are planning to achieve it.

This will take the form of a draft strategy statement which we will publish later this year. And, of course, we will be asking for your views so that we get it right.

Access to cash

When I took up my new role the PSR was grappling with the dilemma of what to do about cash