The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) works towards economic security and stability for all businesses that it registers. It aims to regulate business finance matters in order to protect the consumer and the financial market whilst ultimately encouraging financial competition.
With an ever changing market, the FCA is accountable to the Treasury and the Parliament, meaning it monitors and regulates businesses according to often fluctuating legislation. We need only to take this financial year as reference, to see the many changes in our economy that can influence the way the FCA regulates businesses.
As a business, you will be given authorisation by the FCA if your budgets, business plan, controls, resources, risks and systems all pass the standard the FCA upholds. Whether you are a small business or a mass firm, it is essential that your staff meet the experience and qualifications required to support your business. All of this influences your potential for financial authorisation.
The FCA have a three pillar approach for supervising businesses to lower risk:
Pillar 1: As a large business, you will receive pillar 1 supervision, which is entirely proactive since the risk is higher
Pillar 2: This is given to businesses whose risk is manageable, providing reactive supervision.
Pillar 3: This covers businesses whose risk is not great and may be supervised within a group of firms or within an entire sector.
It can be difficult for businesses to grasp all of these differing techniques used by the Financial Conduct Authority to monitor and authorise their business. Their motive is to ensure the consumer and the market are protected.
In order to regulate businesses, the FCA looks out for businesses not adhering to Competition Law. As a business, if you function in an anti-competition capacity, you may be a cartel with fixed prices or you may be abusing your dominant position, by cutting your prices lower than those of your competitors to encourage consumer interest, before increasing those prices. This sort of financial game-play poses risks to the stability of the UK economy.
The FCA is able to enforce a range of disciplinary consequences for not meeting their standard, which includes:
These penalties are not inclusive and range in severity, which can mean your business may be at risk of closure if it is subject to an enforcement notice from the FCA.
Duncan Lewis’ Regulatory Fitness to Practice solicitors are here to support you in all matters relating to the FCA. We have an understanding of the Financial Conduct Authority Handbook in order to advise at every stage of the proceedings. It is important that you seek legal representation as early as possible, in order to ensure the best possible result.
If you are a business seeking authorisation from the FCA, or you have been given an enforcement notice, seek advice from Duncan Lewis Regulatory Fitness to Practice solicitors on 0333 772 0409.