There is a subtle difference between this and the FCA's other approach documents. Whereas the latter are a recasting of familiar strategies for core regulatory functions, the competition approach relates to an objective (and a duty). Authorisation, to take an obvious example, is not one of the FCA's objectives.
Also, the FSA didn't have a competition objective, duty, or powers - they came new with the FCA. So there is both less experience to build on and little baggage to escape.
The document records that the FCA has to date launched 14 competition reviews, of which 9 have completed. The first was General Insurance Add-ons market study in December 2012, the most recent the Wholesale Insurance Brokers market study in November last year.
It's evident, therefore, that these competition powers are already a core part of the regulator's tool kit, greatly valued by the FCA Board and ExCo. And they have been used widely, across all the major financial services sectors, from investment banking to credit cards.
So what can we draw from the story of the last five years about the industry impact of the FCA's competition objective? Here are 5 areas for firms' Boards and senior management to think about:
1. Competition interventions aren't a quick fix and their impact will be hard to isolate from other factors. The dynamic nature of financial services means that much can change, even by the time the final report is published.
2. The journey is often a long one, from the initial launch of a market study to the final report and beyond. By their nature, these are extended and highly iterative engagements between industry and regulator, and getting to the best outcome will be exhausting.
3. The nature of competitive markets is changing. The accelerating shift to digital, increasing use of big data and growing complexity of products all challenge the disclosure remedies that are still a regulatory staple.
4. The consolidation tide is still coming in, and there are progressively fewer major players in almost every sector.
5. Major regulatory barriers still exist, and for good reason. From increased levels of capital and liquidity to Ringfencing and cyber, the regulatory cost of operating at significant scale has increased significantly. Brexit too alters the landscape.
The result of all this is an oddly disparate regulatory picture, with lots of disruptive innovation at one end but a clear and unsurprising emphasis on "safety and soundness" at the other.
The two don't need to be incompatible but it isn't an easy match and it will take some time for a balance to emerge. Meanwhile, firms might be wise to view the FCA's competition approach against separate short, medium and long term horizons. They may well end up needing a different strategy for each.
Effective competition in financial services benefits consumers and the economy. We are one of the few financial regulators in the world with a core objective to promote competition and it applies to all the work we do.