Help Centre International payments glossary

What is the FCA?

The Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA for short, is the UK’s independent regulatory body for the finance industry.

If you’re looking to participate in the UK’s financial sector, either as a consumer or as part of an organisation, you’ll undoubtedly encounter the FCA’s steady influence. 

Is 3S Money authorised by the FCA?

We are, yes. In particular, we’re authorised as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) to issue e-money services to customers. You can view our FCA registration here.
We have a regulatory obligation to ensure our clients abide by FCA measures. This includes ensuring they, along with any payments they send, comply with objectives established by the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS)
For us to understand who our clients work with and make payments to, we’ll need to carry out compliance and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures both before and during your time as a 3S Money client.

These are informed by our relationship with the FCA, to ensure we act properly at all times. Learn about our compliance and KYC measures here.
Please note that while we’re an FCA-authorised organisation, 3S Money isn’t part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This is because EMIs aren’t permitted to loan out customers’ funds, allowing us to retain 100% liquidity at all times.

In the unlikely circumstance we were to go into liquidation, we’d be able to return your funds to you quickly. Find out about how we protect your funds here. 

Why is the FCA important?

The UK’s financial market plays a crucial role in the lives of everyone in the UK, directly and indirectly – and a healthy financial market can only be a good thing.

As a conduct regulator for 51,000 financial services firms, the FCA ensures everyone partaking in the UK’s financial markets abides by the same stringent procedures.

By nurturing fair and healthy competition between businesses, consumers can confidently work with organisations knowing legitimately regulated and motivated to supply the best possible service.

How does the FCA work with organisations?

This begins with the vetting of any firms and individuals before they can even engage with the financial markets.

They must meet a range of requirements that confirm they’re sufficiently able to carry out their roles before they can be authorised by the FCA.

These include reviews of business plans, risks, budgets, resources, controls, and that key staff are suitably experienced for their roles. You can discover more about the FCA’s authorisation process here.
If the FCA is satisfied with all the above, they’re placed on the FCA’s register, authorising them to operate within the UK’s financial markets. 
Once authorised, the FCA continues to supervise firms and individuals as they engage with markets.

This ongoing due diligence is intended to minimise any potential harm to consumers and markets. You can read about the FCA’s supervision process here
If the FCA discovers any potential wrongdoing by authorised firms or individuals, it has the power to act decisively. These enforcement powers range from the regulatory to the civil and criminal. Examples include:
  • Withdrawing a firm’s authorisation.

  • Suspending firms and individuals for unregulated activities.

  • Issuing fines to firms and individuals.

  • Bringing criminal prosecutions in financial crime cases.


How does the FCA protect consumers?

So far, we’ve seen how the FCA ensures the firms and individuals it authorises are legitimate. However, it also sets out a wide set of protective measures for consumers.

These include offering a means of claiming compensation in the case an FCA-authorised bank, building society or credit union fails. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) offers compensation of up to £85,000 per eligible person (£170,000 for joint accounts).

The FSCS provides consumers security when storing their funds, while being completely free to use. Learn more about FSCS here
Elsewhere, the FCA works with consumers to target scams and misleading firm advertisements, while offering services such as deposit and savings protection. View the full range of protective services the FCA provides to consumers here
For more information about the FCA, please visit their website today.
First uploaded on 09/03/2022.

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