The Financial Services industry is represented in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA aim to make sure that financial markets work well so that consumers get a fair deal.
This means ensuring that:
- the financial industry is run with integrity
- firms provide consumers with appropriate products and services
- consumers can trust that firms have their best interests at heart
To do this they regulate the conduct of more than 70,000 businesses – and for many of these they also consider whether they meet prudential standards that reduce the potential harm to the industry and consumers if they fail.
How they are funded
They are funded entirely by the firms that they regulate, through charging them fees to carry out their financial activities. How much they pay is determined by what type of business they are and what activities they carry out.
The FCA are accountable to the Treasury – which is responsible for the UK’s financial system – and Parliament. However, they are an independent body and they do not receive any funding from the Government.
What they do
They want consumers to be able to trust that the firms they regulate have their best interests at heart by providing them with appropriate products and services.
To achieve this they have three objectives, set out in the Financial Services Act 2012:
- Protect consumers
They secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers.
- Protect financial markets
They protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system.
- Promote competition
They promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
The UK’s approach to financial regulation also involves several other bodies, each with their own responsibilities and objectives. These bodies include:
Find out more about the other UK agencies and government departments they work with.
How they operate
They are an independent organisation, funded entirely by the firms they regulate. While they are not a Government organisation, they are accountable to the Treasury and, through them, to Parliament.
They evaluate the effect their work has so that they can find ways to improve. They state their key milestones for the year in their Business Plan. And they describe the progress they have made against their business plan, how they use data and how they continue to pursue their statutory objectives in their Annual Report.
Find out more about how they measure their performance using:
Quarterly KPIs - 2014/2015: October 2015
As a new organisation they revised their service standards in line with their commitment to transparency – they now have 54. They also introduced four new KPIs, which relate to publishing enhanced information about their authorisations process.
How they are structured
They are made up of nine divisions that work together to deliver their objectives:
- Supervision – retail and authorisations
- Supervision – investment, wholesale & specialists
- Strategy and competition
- Enforcement and market oversight
- Markets policy and international
- Risk and compliance oversight
- General Counsel
- Internal audit
They have a range of executive and non-executive committees that oversee what they do, and their Board holds them accountable for the way they work.
They regulate financial services firms in the UK, including banks and building societies, mortgage and insurance brokers, and financial advisers.
They also regulate firms offering consumer credit, which include credit card issuers, payday lenders and debt management firms.
They regulate the conduct of more than 70,000 firms – and for many of these they also consider whether they meet prudential standards.
Regulated firms have to follow the FAC's rules, that they set out in the FCA Handbook, and give them information and data so they can monitor their business.
The FAC are also the securities regulator for one of the largest financial markets in Europe.
If you would like further information on all FAC services, click here