What Is the Financial Services Authority (FSA)?

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was the agency that regulated financial services in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2013. The regulatory authority was formally divided in 2013 into the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority of the Bank of England.

Key Takeaways

  • The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was the agency that regulated financial services in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2013.
  • Following the financial crisis of 2008, government officials decided to revise the regulatory structure of the financial markets in the U.K.
  • The Financial Services Authority was dissolved in April 2013.
  • Regulatory authority was divided into the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority of the Bank of England.

Understanding the Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was formally established in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Originally established in 1985 as the Securities and Investments Board, the agency adopted the Financial Services Authority name in 1997 until it was dissolved in 2013.

FSA was responsible for regulating banks, financial advisors, and insurance companies and intermediaries as well as entities engaged in the mortgage business. The Financial Services and Markets Act laid out four primary objectives for the FSA, including encouraging market confidence in the U.K. financial system, public awareness and understanding of the U.K. financial system, securing adequate consumer protections, and reducing the incidence and impact of financial crime. Enhancing financial stability was later added to the objectives. These objectives were supported through a codified set of principles of good regulation.

Additionally, FSA enhanced its responsibilities to the financial and consumer sectors in the U.K. by pursuing transparency in ways the agency determined policy and carried out general functions, and by providing political, public, and legal accountability. To this end, FSA operations were overseen and scrutinized by the Treasury and Parliament, and the agency required that annual reports include performance assessments towards fulfilling their principles.

Dissolution of the FSA

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, government officials decided to revise the regulatory structure of the financial markets in the U.K, passing the Financial Service Act 2012 and dissolving the FSA beginning in April 2013. In order to continue with the financial regulation needs, two new agencies were created: the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority of the Bank of England. 

Replacing the Financial Services Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority was established to regulate financial markets, providing protection for consumers and encouraging market integrity in the U.K. financial system, and facilitating competition in order to better serve the interests of consumers. An independent public body, the Financial Conduct Authority, is funded by fees from the 58,000 firms the agency regulates.

The Prudential Regulation Authority’s responsibilities include the regulation of banks, credit unions, insurance firms, and investment firms. The Prudential Regulation Authority is part of the Bank of England, which in turn is owned by the government of the U.K. and is governed by Parliament. The decision-making body for the Prudential Regulation Authority is the Prudential Regulation Committee, comprised of several members, including:

  • Governor of the Bank of England
  • Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Deputy Governor for Financial Stability
  • Deputy Governor for Markets and Banking
  • Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation
  • A member appointed by the Governor with the Chancellor’s approval
  • Five additional members appointed by the Chancellor