U.K. Financial Services Authority

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Financial Services Authority
Founded 1997
Headquarters London, England
Products Financial services regulator
Web site www.fsa.gov.uk

Note: On December 19, 2012, the Financial Services Act was approved by Parliament. On April 1, 2013, the FSA was decommissioned and its regulatory authority transferred to the Bank of England, with regulatory new architecture consisting of the Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulatory Authority, and the Financial Policy Committee.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was an independent non-governmental body that regulated the financial services industry in the UK. It was established by Gordon Brown in 1997 when the Labour party came into power.[1] It was granted statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000.

The FSA was accountable to UK's Treasury Ministers, and through them to Parliament, though it was operationally independent of government and was funded entirely by the firms it regulates. An open and transparent organization, the FSA provided full information for firms, consumers and others about its objectives, plans, policies and rules. That includes information specifically for consumers on financial products, regulation and their rights.

FSA was given a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers to meet a few statutory objectives:

  • Promote efficient, orderly and fair markets;
  • Help retail consumers achieve a fair deal; and
  • Improve business capability and effectiveness.

Beginning April 1, 2013, the FSA split into the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, both housed in the Bank of England.[2] The entire banking system will now be overseen by the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), which can instruct the two new regulators.[3] The new system is designed to focus on outcomes, with the power to prosecute people and throw them out of the industry, as well as to withdraw a bank's license. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) ensures the stability of financial services firms. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the City's behavioral watchdog.

Chancellor George Osborne first announced the changes in June of 2010, as a shake-up of the country's bank-regulatory system aiming to make it clear who is in charge of supervising the financial services sector and avoid a recurrence of failing banks and big state-backed bailouts. The changes give the Bank of England more power in supervising the financial sector and preventing systemic risks.[4]


The HM Treasury appoints the FSA Board, which currently consists of a chairman, a CEO, three managing directors, and nine non-executive directors. The Board sets FSA's overall policy, but day-to-day decisions and management of the staff are the responsibility of the executive.


In May 1997, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the reform of financial services regulation in the UK and the creation of a new regulator. This involved merging banking supervision and investment services regulation into the Securities and Investments Board (SIB). The SIB formally changed its name to the Financial Services Authority in October 1997.

The first stage of the reform of financial services regulation was completed in June 1998, when responsibility for banking supervision was transferred to the FSA from the Bank of England. In May 2000, the FSA took over the role of UK Listing Authority from the London Stock Exchange. The Financial Services and Markets Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2000 and was implemented in December 2001, transferred the responsibilities of several other organizations to the FSA:

  • Building Societies Commission
  • Friendly Societies Commission
  • Investment Management Regulatory Organization
  • Personal Investment Authority
  • Register of Friendly Societies
  • Securities and Futures Authority

In addition, the legislation gave FSA some new responsibilities, in particular taking action to prevent market abuse.

In October 2004, following a decision by the Treasury, the FSA assumed responsibility for mortgage regulation. In January 2005, the FSA also took on regulation of general insurance business.[5]

In early June 2010, the FSA fined JP Morgan $49 million for failing to protect billions of dollars of client money by keeping it in segregated accounts. This was the largest fine ever levied by the UK regulator and twice as large as the previous record fine paid by Royal Dutch Shell.[6]

It was announced in February 2010 that CEO Hector Sants would leave the position in the summer of 2010, after three years as CEO. However, due to changing regulatory requirements in the UK, Sants was asked to stay on as CEO in order to transition the FSA from its established system of regulation to the proposed future model. Upon the completion of this transition in March 2012, Sants once again announced his resignation and his intention to leave at the end of June 2012.[7][8]

Key People[edit]