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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a UK regulatory body that acts independently of the government. They have several important duties such as overseeing UK financial markets and the entities that operate within the country; this includes money transfer companies. People sending money abroad can learn more about regulators like the FCA to find out how their funds are protected when transferring domestically or from one country to another.

Updated: 27/07/2022
Read time: 5 minutes
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Who is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a UK financial regulatory body responsible for overseeing and regulating the UK financial markets. Founded on 1st April 2013, the FCA acts independently of the UK government and was established as a result of major changes to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 which was amended in 2012. The changes increased the severity of regulations and the FCA were employed to enforce stricter guidelines and penalties.  

The jurisdiction of the FCA covers the United Kingdom only, with headquarters based in London. Working alongside the Financial Policy Committee and Prudential Regulation Authority, the FCA is responsible for overseeing 58,000+ businesses with yearly tax revenue of £65.6 billion and staff of more than 2.2 million people. 

The main source of FCA funding is derived from fees of financial services industry members, therefore, taxpayers do not fund the organisation. This means the FCA can act independently from the UK government. The FCA has powers to enforce rules and forge new ones in order to fit the needs of the changing financial landscape. As one of the main regulatory bodies in the UK to make sure markets work fairly and financial institutions do not engage in risky or illegal behaviour, the FCA puts customer protection above all profits or income. 

What is the FCA responsible for?

This section explains the responsibilities of the FCA, to help our readers gain a better understanding of how the organisation safeguards the UK financial sector. The core duties of this financial regulator can be broken down into the following categories:

1. Protecting consumers

This category is the most applicable to money transfer customers. The FCA monitors the running of consumer investments, pensions, savings, loans, credit cards, mortgages and bank accounts. The regulatory body ensures that customers are treated fairly, the relevant services are delivered and customer protection is placed above profitability. 

The FCA monitors the practises and standards of a money transfer company or bank before it is accepted. This ensures that only vetted companies are approved, so consumers can have peace of mind.  

2. Supervision

The FCA supervises the firms they have approved to ensure they continue to meet the highest of standards. Part of the supervision process involves learning the intricacies of how each company operates. This includes understanding the latest technologies and features offered to consumers. 

Information is sourced from different places, which includes consumer organisations, consumer feedback, trade associations and other regulatory organisations. Whistleblowers and MPs have also had their fair share of contributions over the years too. 

3. Enforcement

The enforcement arm of the FCA makes it clear that there are consequences for breaking the rules. The FCA has powers to take a wide range of actions, which it can choose between based on the situation. The actions they take can include: 

  • Issue warnings to individuals and firms, and take down websites associated with rule barkers. 
  • Criminal prosecution for offences such as false claims of FCA approval and insider trading. 
  • Using the courts to apply for insolvency orders and injunctions. 
  • Release public announcements that explain the disciplinary action and what other actions they will take. 
  • Issuing fines against individuals and firms that break the rules. 
  • Suspending firms and individuals that break the rules. 
  • Removing the authorization of a company or individual to offer financial services.

Why is the FCA important?

The FCA is important because they oversee most companies in the UK that offer financial services to regular citizens. They can prevent regular people from being a victim of scams or risky behaviour when sending and receiving money. The seal of approval from the FCA gives people peace of mind that a money transfer service has been vetted. 

The FCA enhances the integrity of the UK’s financial markets, which gives foreign companies the confidence to come and invest. It allows the UK economy to grow because the finical sector is an important part of the entire pie. In fact, financial services contributed 8.6% of total economic output to the UK economy in 2020. 

What regions do the FCA cover?

The FCA is only responsible for the firms and individuals operating in the UK. They also have powers over foreign firms that are operating in the UK. If customers are being serviced by financial services in the UK, then the FCA has powers to enforce the rules on that entity. 

When might you encounter the FCA?

You might encounter the FCA when trying to learn about the list of vetted firms. You can check the money transfer company that you wish to use to see if the FCA has approved them. You can also use the FCA to learn about the process of how to file a complaint. The regulatory body provides information to consumers about the matter of making sound financial decisions when using financial services. 

How to contact the FCA

You may want to contact the FCA to learn more about one of the money transfer services that it regulates. Here are the contact details you can use:

  • Phone: their international number is +44 207 066 1000 or use 0300 500 8082 if you are in the UK. 
  • Email: you can send the FCA an email at customer-relations@fcagroup.com.

Bottom line

The FCA is an important UK regulatory body that helps maintain order and stability across domestic financial markets. Money transfer customers can rest assured that all FCA approved enterprises have been vetted by this upstanding regulatory body. To learn more about other Regulators, consider reading our guides on the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of Thrift Supervision which shed light on the different agencies regulating US financial markets.

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Article Factchecked by Elliot Laybourne on 20th July 2022

Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.

During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.

During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.

April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.

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