Financial Conduct Authority (FCA): A Definition
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What is the FCA
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a regulatory body which upholds standards in the finance industry and regulates financial activities including banking and insurance. The organisation establishes and enforces rules that firms must adhere to in order to ensure a fair customer experience.
The FCA is an independent body, not run by the UK government, and is funded by the 50,000 firms which fall under its remit.
Why is the FCA important?
The FCA exists to protect consumers. It establishes regulations to ensure that firms treat their customers fairly and offer relevant and valuable products and services.
It also endeavors to prioritise the safety and security of consumers over the profits of firms.
Its operational objectives are to:
- protect consumers from bad conduct
- protect the integrity of the UK financial system
- promote effective competition in the interests of consumers
It does this by conducting checks on firms before they are authorised and then continues supervision of their activity.
If a firm is suspected to be breaking the FCA’s rules, they have the authority to intervene. They are able to:
- Force firms to change their products or withdraw them from the market
- Stop a company from trading
- Impose financial penalties
- Pursue compensation for affected parties
The performance of financial markets has an impact on everyone’s lives. From pensions and insurance to investments and loans, finance affects all of us. Regulating financial activity is crucial to maintaining confidence in the UK as a market, but also for the security of those living here.
Why is whistleblowing relevant to the FCA?
It is imperative that the standards and regulations established by the FCA are upheld.
Reporting concerns of wrongdoing or misconduct/noncompliance allows the FCA to ensure its member firms are operating in a secure manner, which serves consumers.
Conduct which would be relevant for an FCA whistleblowing report include:
- money laundering
- fitness and propriety
- systems and controls
- unauthorised business
The FCA specifically outlines requirements for firms to “establish, implement and maintain appropriate and effective arrangements for the disclosure of reportable concerns by whistleblowers.”
Their literature states it is necessary for firms to:
- Be able effectively to handle disclosures of reportable concerns, including where the whistleblower has requested confidentiality
- Allow for disclosures to be made through a range of communication methods
- Offer appropriate training for UK-based employees; managers; and employees responsible for operating the firms’ internal arrangements.
- Ensure the effective assessment and escalation of reportable concerns by whistleblowers
Protecting whistleblowers begins at the point of making a report. FCA demand that relevant parties are able to make disclosures confidentially. An outsourced whistleblowing hotline is the best way to achieve this.
Safecall, as an independent whistleblowing service provider, ensures employees have a secure avenue to report wrongdoing.
All our call handlers have more than 25 years’ experience and are skilled in speaking with and interviewing people, from all walks of life, often in difficult and emotional circumstances; giving people the time and space to relay important information in their own words.
Offer a range of communication methods
The FCA recognises the importance of offering a range of avenues for making a disclosure.
Not all workers will want to report a concern using the internet or an app. Not only is offering multiple means of reporting an issue of accessibility, but the quality of a report can be determined by the form in which it is made.
Safecall are able to file concerns made in writing, over the phone, or online.
Each of these methods can be used with anonymity and security – 24/7, 365 days a year. Our systems and availability ensure whistleblowers can make a report in the way which is most comfortable for them.
Training for employees and managers
Training provided by a whistleblower hotline vendor gives staff at all levels a better understanding of the importance of whistleblowing, the reporting procedures, and the responsibility that firms have towards members of staff who speak up.
Ensuring managers, and other senior members of staff, are trained sufficiently to identify unacceptable behaviour, and support whistleblowers throughout the entirety of the complaints and investigation processes, is a crucial step towards creating a workplace where everyone is afforded dignity.
Utilising an independent investigator can not only help with FCA compliance but demonstrates you firm’s commitment to fair investigation and appropriate action. This will improve employee confidence in your whistleblowing policy.
Whether it be a review of existing policies, or taking control of an investigation, independent whistleblowing investigation support providers improve the integrity of your investigation.
Establishing a culture of accountability protects your employees and your reputation. Safecall’s investigation and support services improve the rigor and efficacy of your assessment process.