Financial Conduct Authority
|Financial Conduct Authority|
|Formed||1 April 2013|
|Preceding Agency||Financial Services Authority|
|Headquarters||25 North Colonnade
London, United Kingdom
|Agency executives||John Griffith-Jones, Chairman
Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a regulatory body in the United Kingdom, formed as one of the successors to the Financial Services Authority (FSA). It operates independently of the United Kingdom government, and is financed by charging fees to members of the financial services industry. The FCA regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the UK’s financial markets. It focuses on the regulation of conduct by both retail and wholesale financial services firms. Like its predecessor the FSA, the FCA is structured as a company limited by guarantee.
On 19 December 2012 the Financial Services Act 2012 received royal assent, and it came into force on 1 April 2013. The Act creates a new regulatory framework for financial services and abolishes the Financial Services Authority. Specifically, the Act gives the Bank of England responsibility for financial stability, bringing together macro and micro prudential regulation, creates a new regulatory structure consisting of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.
The authority has significant powers, including the power to regulate conduct related to the marketing of financial products. It is able to specify minimum standards and to place requirements on products. It has the power to investigate organisation and individuals.
In addition, the FCA is able to ban financial products for up to a year while considering an indefinite ban; it will have the power to instruct firms to immediately retract or modify promotions which it finds to be misleading, and to publish such decisions.
Sectors & Firms
The FCA will take over regulation of consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on 1 April 2014. The final version of the guidance on the new consumer credit regime will be announced in March 2014. One such sector of consumer credit that will be regulated by the FCA from April is peer-to-peer lending.
The Financial Services Act of 2012 set out a new system for regulating financial services in order to protect and improve the UK’s economy.
The FCA will supervise banks to:
- Ensure they treat customers fairly
- Encourage innovation and healthy competition
- Help the FCA to identify potential risks early so they can take action to reduce the risks
There are more than 10,000 mutual societies in the UK. The FCA are responsible for:
- Registering new mutual societies
- Keeping public records
- Receiving annual returns
- Offer a broad range of retail investment products
- Give consumers unbiased and unrestricted advice based on the IFAs comprehensive and fair analysis of the relevant market
In early 2011, it was confirmed that the new head of the FCA will be Martin Wheatley, formerly chairman of Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission. In June 2012 it was confirmed that John Griffith-Jones would become the non-executive chair of the FCA once the FSA ceases operations in 2013. Griffith-Jones joined the FSA board in September 2012 as a non-executive director and deputy chair. Griffith-Jones retired from KPMG, where he was chairman of the UK division, in August 2012.
In December 2013, it was announced that head of asset management supervision Ed Harley had left the regulator to take up a role at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
In June 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority was subject to criticism from Parliamentary Commission for Banking Standards, in their report 'Changing Banking for Good' which stated:
The interest rate swap scandal has cost small businesses dear. Many had no concept of the instrument they were being pressured to buy. This applies to embedded swaps as much as standalone products. The response by the FSA and FCA has been inadequate. If, as they claim, the regulators do not have the power to deal with these abuses, then it is for the Government and Parliament to ensure that the regulators have the powers they need to enable restitution to be made for this egregious mis-selling.—Parliamentary Commission for Banking Standards, Report - Changing Banking for Good 
There have been calls for the resignation of the chairman John Griffith-Jones because of his responsibility for auditing HBOS as chairman of KPMG at the time of the financial crisis of 2007–08. There is also criticism of the chief executive Martin Wheatley because of his responsibility for the minibond fiasco in Hong Kong.
The originally proposed name of "Consumer Protection and Markets Authority" (CPMA) was changed after the Treasury Select Committee pointed out that this name could mislead consumers.
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