Learning Material Sample

UK Financial Services, regulations and ethics

1.1 Structure of the UK financial services environment - the economic environment

In this section, we aim to understand the roles of both the European and UK Governments in the running of the UK.

The UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) on 1 January 1973. It is now known as the European Union (EU). Today it has 27 member countries and 495 million people. The aims of the EU are to promote peace, prosperity and freedom in a fairer and safer world.

The benefits of being an EU member include free trade between member states, the ability to move freely between EU countries to live, work or study, a single currency for countries that have adopted the Euro meaning no need to exchange currency and competitive prices.

Free trade means that there are no trade barriers such as import duties, quotas and levies. To ensure a level playing field for businesses, the EU use l...

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...me, the UK continues to be a full member of the EU and must comply with all current rules and regulations and firms must abide by their obligations under UK law, including those derived from the EU.

The longer term implications on the financial services industry is still uncertain, but the FCA has issued guidance saying that they are working closely with the Treasury, The Bank of England and other UK authorities to monitor developments in financial markets.  Any changes to be made to the current rules and regulations will be determined by the Government and Parliament and until that time consumer’s rights and protections will remain unchanged from the current situation.

Moving on to consider the UK, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has direct responsibility for financial services. He introduces legislation to regulate the industry which is implemented by the Treasury.

The Financial Services Authority was established in 1997 and it has been the single statutory body since 2000, although still under the control of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) governs regulation and conduct in financial services today.  The Financial Services Act 2010 created a new objective of financial stability which was shared between the FSA, the treasury and the Bank of England. The Financial Services Act 2012 then radically changed the regulation of the UK financial services industry. From April 2013, three new regulatory bodies have been established:

The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) – a part of the Bank of England

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Prudential Regulation Aut...

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...account of periods of unemployment, illness, retirement etc.

Benefits are essential to prevent poverty which would have far reaching effects on the country and economy. However, benefits seem to be reducing therefore creating a need for people to make their own provisions.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 introduced age discrimination and this coincided with concerns about a potential pension crisis. It is now thought that many of us may not be able to retire as our parents and grandparents did and instead we will need to continue to work to support ourselves. The government are trying to encourage more people to take out personal pensions by introducing pension simplification and the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). At the same time, growing numbers of employers are finding that they can no longer run their final salary pension schemes due to extra costs such as changes in accounting regulations and the removal of dividend credits.

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