The FCA is an independent regulator who works towards ensuring that all consumers are able to get a fair and equal deal, and that companies do not exploit their customers. The organisation is also entirely funded by the financial firms it regulates and is held accountable by the UK Treasury, giving it a great deal of power in the way that it operates.
In order to understand what the FCA really does, it is important to assess the objectives that they work towards and these are the following:
- Protect consumers in the UK
- Improve the honour and probity of the financial system in the UK
- Assist in keeping the market competitive for businesses
- Promote effective and consumer-focused competition to ensure consumers get the best deals possible
An example of the work they do
Perhaps one of the most notable examples of the good work that the FCA does can be found when looking at their past successes with the regulation of short term payday loans. The regulator rolled out several rules in 2014 which meant that those who obtained a payday loan from 2015 would never have to face paying back more than double of what they initially took out. This, alongside other guidelines, helped to protect vulnerable people from unscrupulous lenders taking advantage of their financial situation.
Compliance and how it is measured
The FCA always take the most necessary measures when it comes to keeping both the consumer and the company happy and operating on a fair playing field, despite the fact that this can be a challenge at times. As a business owner, the easiest way in which you can ensure you work towards straightforward compliance with the FCA is through the following:
- Ensure that the procedures you follow are done so in a way that is compliant to their culture
- Allow everyone in your company to have direct and easy access to specific procedures that are relevant to your industry
- Make it challenging for materials that are not compliant to FCA guidelines to slip through the net and come back around
- Put responsible trading and compliance at the very heart of what you do. Offer transparency when it comes to protocol, branding etc.
The FCA has long been working alongside firms to ensure that a culture of honesty and a responsible ethos is adhered to industry-wide at all times – this is the Financial Conduct Authority’s main aim. Having someone like the FCA in place when it comes to influencing companies to strive for fair conduct is such a powerful thing as it works to better the relationship between consumers and companies.