The FSA Prepares Final Handover to Two New Regulators
April 2013 is the switchover date when the FSA as we know it ceases to exist and the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority continue its work. So what has changed and what are the remits of the PRA and FCA?
The new regulators are set to be noticeably more intrusive in their supervision of UK financial services. The FSA ramped up its proactivity ahead of this, shifting the focus to tackling root causes at an earlier stage, rather than just dealing with symptoms of problems in the financial system.
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
The PRA is a subsidiary of the Bank of England and its main focus is to ensure the UK’s overall financial stability. It will be responsible for the prudential supervision of deposit-takers (i.e. banks, building societies and credit unions), insurance companies and ‘significant’ investment firms. These total just over 2000 in all – companies which present significant risks to the stability of the financial system should things go wrong.
The PRA’s duties and powers include:
- Supervisory assessment and intervention
- Securing ex-ante remedial action
- Enforcing corrective action
- Authorisation of firms
- Approval of senior individuals within firms.
Companies regulated by the PRA (Prudential) are also regulated by the FCA (Conduct) and known as dual-regulated firms.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
The FCA is directly accountable to HM Treasury and Parliament. Its main objective is to protect and enhance confidence in the UK financial system by securing protection for consumers, promoting efficiency and choice and improving the integrity of the financial system.
The FCA provides conduct regulation to firms who are prudentially regulated by the PRA.
It also provides conduct and prudential regulation of all firms that were previously subject to FSA regulation but are not among those posing significant risk to the UK financial system. They include personal investment firms, investment managers, insurance and mortgage intermediaries, corporate finance, wholesale firms and other professional firms.
The FCA’s duties and powers include:
- Higher penalties
- Bringing criminal prosecutions
- Focusing closely on the responsibility of individuals
- Going public about disciplinary actions at an earlier stage.
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