As the main regulator of the UK financial services industry, the FSA monitors almost 30,000 firms – from global investment banks to small businesses and individuals. Tasked with maintaining market confidence, fighting financial crime, ensuring market confidence and protecting consumers, the FSA employs almost 4,000 personnel.
- Working towards a good cause
- Interesting time to be working in regulation
- Training programmes are pretty good
- Mobility across the company
- Friendly and non-competitive atmosphere
- Hours are generally good
- Not as competitive salary
- A little top heavy
- Hot desking isn’t that hot
- Promotion tends to be opaque
- Retention rates aren’t that great
- Bureaucracy is inherent
Tasked with maintaining market confidence, fighting financial crime, ensuring market confidence and protecting consumers, the Financial Services Authority employs almost 4,000 personnel. All companies involved in any manner of financial activity must comply to the FSA’s standards, with failure to match up resulting in fines. As the main regulator of the UK financial services industry, the FSA monitors almost 30,000 firms – from global investment banks to small businesses – as well as 150,000+ individuals. Based in Canary Wharf, the FSA receives no money from the tax payer; instead it is an independent quasi-judicial body that raises funds through the firms it regulates by collecting fines, fees and compulsory levies.
A Bit of Background
Although established by an Act of Parliament in 2000, the FSA’s history can be traced back to 1985 to its previous form as the Securities and Investments Board Ltd. It received its current appellation and status when Gordon Brown – the then newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer – repurposed the organisation as a financial regulator in 1997. But undoing his predecessor’s work, George Osborne announced plans in June 2010 to devolve the FSA’s responsibilities to a number of new agencies and the Bank of England. The Financial Conduct Authority has been charged with policing the City and banking system, while a new Prudential Regulatory Authority has been taxed with carrying out prudential regulation of financial firms. The remaining responsibilities will be assumed by the Bank of England. The entire transition is expected to be completed by 2012.
A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments
The FSA is divided by operation, and employs almost 4,000 in a relatively flat structure. Supervision ensures regulated firms are well governed, can manage the risks inherent in their business models and markets. The division is subdivided into major retail groups, retail firms, wholesale firms, small firms and contact, and permissions, decisions and reporting. The enforcement and financial crime division conducts forensic investigations into suspected misconduct and compliance failures. Direct reports consist of communications, executive office, corporate services, financial stability, internal audit, international and the specialist supervision unit. Risk and policy are responsible for sectoral and market-wide risk identification and migration, as well as policy formation, covering prudential policy, conduct policy and markets policy.
The FSA offers a general graduate development programme on top of its specialist IT, economics, management accounting and prudential graduate schemes. Most of these usually start off with a one-month induction, providing an overview of the company and the industry. New recruits will rotate through various business areas and are expected to undertake an external 6 month secondment in their third year, which could be with a regulated organisation or even with other European regulators.
Training forms an integral part and graduates are often sponsored to qualify as chartered financial analysts, or gain other professional qualifications in investment management or financial planning. Graduates with a 2:1 in any discipline can apply and if you’re successful, you’ll have to master an online test, which will be followed by two assessment centre.
The FSA also offers ten-week undergraduate summer internships and MBA internships, both of which kick off at the end of June. Most internships positions are available in London although posts in the Edinburgh office crop up occasionally.
No. of employees worldwide: 4,000
No. of employees in the UK: 4,000
Employer Type: finance/ regulator (Not for profit)
Chairman: Adair Turner
Graduate Intake: 40+
Graduate Salary: 29,000
Other benefits: Core benefits, Flexible benefits
Risk & Policy