From 1 April 2013, the body which regulated the UK financial services industry, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), was replaced by two new regulatory bodies.
Some of the larger financial services firms, such as banks and insurance providers, will be regulated by both of these regulators. Smaller financial services firms, such as financial advisers and asset managers, will be regulated only by the FCA. In these instances, the FCA will not only regulate how these firms behave but also regulate all aspects of the financial strength of a firm.
There are a number of other bodies with responsibilities over the financial services sector.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If you have a complaint about the way you have been treated by a financial services firm, you should complain directly to the firm – through their formal complaints procedure – in the first instance. They are obliged by the FCA to respond to your formal complaint within eight weeks.
If you’re not happy with the outcome you can take your complaint to the FOS. The FOS is an independent body which aims to settle complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services. There is no charge to the consumer for using this service.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the compensation scheme of last resort for customers of financial services firms. It is a body that is independent of government and the financial industry.
You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme if the firm cannot pay claims made against it. This depends on the type of business and the circumstances of the claim. There is no charge to the consumer for using this service.
Money Advice Service (MAS)
The Money Advice Service (MAS) is an independent body set up by government to help people make the most of their money. The MAS provides free, unbiased money advice to everyone across the UK. Its statutory objectives are to improve people's understanding and knowledge of financial matters (including the UK financial system) so that they can feel more confident in managing their own financial affairs.