This year marks the 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. Today’s economic landscape is still feeling the ripples from the impact – with regulations, licences, directives and a plethora of financial protocols cascading throughout the decade to tighten control and make the system less vulnerable to specific failings. It is within this current environment, one that has already seen ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) release new legislative framework MiFID II on 3 January, that the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is ready to face its most challenging year yet, writes FXTM Senior Staff Writer Nikola Grozdanovic.
The origins of the FCA is directly linked to the wave that shook up financial regulatory bodies after the 2007-08 crisis. From 2001 to 2013, the overseers of the financial rule of law in the United Kingdom was the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – responsible for policing the entirety of the UK’s financial spectrum. Once the crisis reached its peak in 2008, however, the FSA – much like other financial authorities across the globe – came under heavy fire. It was criticised for its lack of prudence with regulating banks, with the infamous collapse of Northern Rock serving as a painful reminder of how wrong things can go when standards get side-lined. FSA’s chairman Lord Turner went on record in 2012 to admit that, “in the supervision of banks the FSA made huge mistakes: and has acknowledged them – and changed radically in response.”
This change came in the form of the Financial Services Act 2012, which received its royal assent that December. The Act abolished the FSA, splitting its two core supervisory responsibilities – prudential and conduct – across two new entities: the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the FCA. The former focusses solely on prudential regulation, and is owned by the Bank of England, while the latter is wholly independent of the UK Government and is charged with regulating the conduct of all financial firms that provide services in the UK as well as maintaining the confidence of the UK’s financial market.
Five years on, and the FCA has become one of the most robust regulatory financial authorities operating today, especially within the world of forex and CFDs. In 2018, not only is it dealing with the overhauls of MiFID II which affects all commodity, bond, stock, and derivative markets across the EU, but it is preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the biggest overhaul of data protection laws in the past two decades, which comes into effect on 25 May. In addition, the FCA is the only financial authority in the world that is currently tasked with an unprecedented situation: balancing the UK’s divorce from Europe in the Brexit transition.
More recently, Andrew Bailey – the head of the FCA – has called on European leaders and counterparts to sign a “memorandum of understanding” which would give the UK’s financial firms a certain adjustment period during Brexit.
In tandem with the changing regulatory environment successful financial companies are making sure that they are compliant in terms of the new requirements. FXTM is one of the latest forex and CFD brokers to have been granted a licence by the FCA – its UK entity started operations on April 4th. Martin Couper, director of FXTM’s Forextime UK Limited, feels very positive about the new licence and the FCA:
“We want to ensure that potential new Brexit legislation does not interrupt the services we provide to our clients in Europe nor our future clients in the UK, which is why acquiring the FCA licence was crucial for our brand’s expansion and compliance,” he says. “The FCA has been operational for five years, and in that time has proven to be one of the most sound and respected financial authorities in the world. We are thrilled to have been granted the licence and look forward to many years of successful operations in the UK market.”
For more information please visit FXTM at https://www.forextime.com/eu