What Is the Financial Conduct Authority (UK)?

As the regulator of the financial services industry in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has the strategic goal of ensuring that financial markets in the U.K. function well.

Understanding the Financial Conduct Authority (UK) (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has three operational objectives in support of its strategic goal—to protect consumers, to protect and enhance the integrity of the U.K. financial system, and to promote healthy competition between financial services providers in the interests of consumers. It was established on April 1, 2013, taking over responsibility for conduct and relevant prudential regulation from the Financial Services Authority. The FCA’s statutory objectives were set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, amended by the Financial Services Act 2012. The latter Act made major changes to the way financial services firms are regulated in the U.K. It was introduced to ensure the financial sector manages and contains risks more effectively after the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Financial Conduct Authority Powers

The FCA has sweeping powers to enforce its mandate, including rule-making, investigative, and enforcement powers. The FCA also has the power to raise fees, which is necessary since it is an independent body and does not receive any government funding. It, therefore, charges fees to authorized firms that carry out activities regulated by the FCA, and other bodies such as recognized investment exchanges.

Periodic fees charged to firms provide most of the funding required by the FCA to carry out its statutory duties. These fees are based on factors such as the type of regulated activities undertaken by a firm and the scale of those activities, as well as the regulatory costs incurred by the FCA.