The FCA's recommendations, resurrecting previous work on this topic shelved in 2014 by the Office of the Public Guardian, are surprising for a number of reasons.
Firstly, this has got little if nothing to do with the FCA. They should focus on doing their job of regulating financial institutions properly to ensure all bank staff understand the technicalities and implications of an LPA. That would be a much better start, and large amounts of fraud that is committed against vulnerable adults could be prevented.
Secondly, it's a strange position to take, when incidents of fraud are, at least in reports, on the rise. The need for a physical or 'wet' signature is one of the few remaining safeguards in the LPA creation process.
Finally, the safeguards need to be moving in the other direction, to ensure the use of a truly independent and properly-qualified person to act as certificate provider.
The LPA system isn't broken, but needs appropriate intervention after consultation with appropriate persons. The FCA is not one of them. The tail should not wag the dog!
The FCA has set out plans for applications for lasting power of attorney to be made online, scrapping the requirement for a pen and paper signature. At the moment the process of getting lasting power of attorney requires a wet signature, a witness and someone to confirm the donor is of sound mind. The FCA has also suggested the introduction of ‘carer’s cards’ so a carer would be legitimately be able to access a person’s finances.