The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a regulatory body dealing with the financial market in the UK. Operating independently from the UK government, the FCA is funded by charging fees to members of the financial services industry. The body regulates financial institutions that provide services to consumers and keeps the UK’s finance market on the straight and narrow. It focuses on the regulation of conduct by retail and wholesale financial services firms, and the individuals within them.
The authority has numerous powers, including the ability to regulate conduct related to the marketing and selling of financial products. It is allowed to specify minimum standards expected and then place them on products.
It has the power to ban finance products for as much as 12 months whilst it considers a complete ban; whilst also starting a process that ends with firms having to retract or modify promotions which it deems to be ambiguous in the eyes of the consumer.
The FCA has been in charge of the consumer credit industry from April 2014, taking over the role which was previously held by the Office of Fair Trading.