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About the Financial Services Authority

Also known simply as the FSA, the Financial Services Authority is the UK's independent financial regulator, with powers that have been granted through the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Treasury is responsible for appointing an FSA board, and board members are in turn responsible for setting the overall policies of the agency. In addition to board members the Treasury also appoints a Chairman and a Chief Executive Officer.

The FSA is answerable to Treasury Ministers, and report to them through parliament. Funding of the FSA actually comes through the variety of financial companies that it regulates. The FSA has a number of aims and goals, and this includes raising awareness and educating about financial issues, protecting consumers, and ensuring fairness. Whilst the FSA is an independent regulator the powers and activities of the FSA are the responsibility of the government. The agency is responsible for regulating most financial markets and companies, and it has the power to take action against firms that are in breach of FSA regulations and policies.

The FSA implements are range of guidelines and regulations, which its member companies are expected to adhere to. These policies are introduced to ensure fairness, protect consumers, and reduce the risk of financial fraud and crime. One its website the FSA described its main goals and aims as:

Promoting efficient, orderly and fair markets
Helping retail consumers achieve a fair deal
Improving our business capability and effectiveness

The agency has has a number of set objectives, and amongst these are raising public awareness of the financial industry and markets, ensuring the protection of consumes within the financial sector, increasing consumer confidence in financial products and services, and reducing crime in relation to financial services and products. In short the FSA describes these objectives as:

Public awareness
Consumer protection
Market confidence
Reduction of financial crime

The standards that are set by the FSA must be met by its members companies, and this in itself helps to increase confidence amongst consumers. This is why it is important for consumers to ensure that any financial firm or service that they use is FSA regulated, as this ensures that the company is complying with FSA regulations and standards.

The Financial Services Authority carries out valuable work and services, and provides consumers with the opportunity to enjoy fairness when it comes to financial products and services. Some of the things that the FSA has been involved in include cracking down on the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance, and taking action against mortgage related fraud, both of which are issues that have hit the financial headlines recently.

There are also a number of financial businesses that have to be regulated by the FSA, and this is because they have to meet the specific standards that are set out by the agency in order to operate within the law.

The Financial Services Authority has wide ranging powers which enables to bring criminal charges against companies and individuals who break their rules and regulations. These powers have already been increased this year with the ability to instantly fine persons who cross the line.

Submitted by:

Peter Kenny

Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Personal Loans and Credit Card Rewards Visit Protecting yourself from credit card fraud


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