The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA for short) is the regulatory authority that oversees the entire financial services industry in the United Kingdom. The FCA is now responsible for the regulation of mortgage products and services. This means that every lender and mortgage intermediary must be authorised and regulated by the FCA to ensure they provide professional services. Alternatively, someone providing such services must be an appointed representative of a firm that is already authorised by the FCA.
The aim of the FCA is to ensure the financial markets work in a manner that allows consumers to receive fair services from those working in the industry. They ensure the UK financial system is run in a manner that has integrity. They also protect consumers from rogue operators and services, while encouraging competition across the marketplace. Such competition means consumers have a better chance of securing good deals in all kinds of financial areas.
The FCA has only been in force since 2013. It was created by Parliament in that year. It is responsible for regulating the services provided by over 56,000 financial services firms in the UK. When using any financial services, it is vital to make sure those services are properly regulated and authorised by the Financial Services Authority.
The FCA keeps and maintains the Financial Services Register, on which every business or individual regulated by the authority is listed. Consumers can search the register to confirm whether a company they are thinking of using has been properly registered. You can also search the register by postcode, meaning it is easier to find a local registered firm if you are looking for one.