financial conduct authority (FCA)
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a United Kingdom regulatory body that focuses on the regulation of financial services firms (retail and wholesale). It is funded by membership fees it charges and is completely independent of the United Kingdom government.
The FCA has a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of financial markets in the UK and regulating the conduct of firms that supply financial services.
The FCA was preceded by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which was abolished following the enactment of the Financial Services Act 2012. The Financial Services Act 2012 introduced a regulatory framework involving the FCA, the Bank of England Financial Policy Committee and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Under the FCA’s remit, its powers include:
– The power to investigate organisations or individuals;
– The power to ban financial products or services for up to a year while considering a permanent ban;
– A supervisory role with banks and authorised payments institutions to ensure customer treatment is fair, to oversee healthy competition and to spot financial risks early in order to mitigate the chance of systemic damage.
In an attempt to encourage innovation in the financial sector, in 2014 the FCA launched FCA Innovate, an initiative aiming to support the development of innovative products and services that improve customers’ access to finance. This initiative was crucial for the development of UK Fintech companies.