What is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over certain powers from the FSA in April 2013. Like the FSA before it, the FCA is responsible for the regulation of the financial services industry in the UK.
The FCA supervises the conduct of financial firms by ensuring that regulated firms adhere to the rules and maintain high standards. The FCA has powers to intervene when regulated firms fail to ‘treat customers fairly’ or behave in ways which risks the financial stability of the financial services marketplace. Their powers have already been exercised, heavy fines have been levied and bans on individuals and firm given.
The FCA achieves its objectives by:
- Continuous conduct assessment for large firms and regular assessment for smaller firms
- Monitoring products and other issues to ensure firms ‘play fair’ and don’t compromise consumer interests
- Responding quickly and decisively to events or problems that threaten the integrity of the industry
- Ensuring firms compensate consumers when necessary
In addition to its regulatory and supervisory responsibilities, the FCA also acts as a ‘consumer champion’ to ensure consumers get a fair deal. The FCA acts as a consumer champion by ensuring that regulated firms offer consumers the most appropriate product for their needs, ensuring that financial advisers give unbiased advice and requires regulated firms to train their staff so that they are knowledgeable and behave ethically.