Defining the Financial Services

Every country that has a banking and finance system needs some sort of entity to regulate it… after all, simply allowing banks and financial companies to run independently without any sort of system of checks and balances would almost certainly lead to corruption and disaster. In the UK , the regulatory entity of the financial system is the Financial Services Authority, or the FSA, and is operated independently of the government in an effort to offer a non-governmental control of the financial industry.

History of the FSA

The Financial Services Authority came into being as a result of the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000. The first step in the creation of this act was the merger of banking supervision and investment services regulation into an organization known as the Securities and Investment Board, or SIB, in 1997. In October of 1997, the SIB formally changed its name to the Financial Services Authority, and the responsibility for banking supervision was transferred to the FSA from the Bank of England a year later. In May of 2000, the FSA took over the role of the UK listings authority from the London Stock Exchange.

When the Financial Services and Markets Act went into effect in 2001, several other financial services were merged into the FSA and additional responsibilities were granted to the organization (such as the ability to take action to prevent market abuse.) In 2004, the FSA was granted the abilities of mortgage regulation following a decision by the Treasury, and in January of 2005 the FSA took over regulation of the general insurance business to implement the Insurance Mediation Directive.

What the FSA Does

In short, the Financial Services Authority is in charge of monitoring and regulating all of the financial transactions and stock market exchanges within the UK . They also maintain websites that detail how individuals and businesses within the UK can improve their financial capability, as well as upholding the rules of trade in regards to finances and securities when dealing with other countries or political unions. The FSA is also in charge of monitoring securities exchanges within the UK , and taking steps to actively avoid market fraud and illegal trade.

How the FSA Operates

The Financial Services Authority is an open company, limited by guarantee and financed by the financial services industry itself. The FSA is run by the FSA Board, which consists of a Chairman, the Chief Executive Officer, three Managing Directors, and ten Non-Executive Directors, one of whom serves as the Deputy Chairman who is the lead non-executive member. Overall policy is decided upon and set by the Board as a whole, though day-to-day operations and staff management is performed by the CEO.

FSA Board Accountability

The FSA Board is appointed by the Treasury, and though it is not a government agency in and of itself it is accountable for its actions to the government and must report to the Ministers of the Treasury. Because of this, great care is taken in the choosing of new Board members should one retire of leave the Board.