The legislation which now governs the conduct of investment business in the UK is the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) which came into force on 1 December 2001, superseding the Financial Services Act 1986. The statutory body with overall responsibility for enforcing the legislation relating to investment business under the FSMA is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Exchange is a Recognised Investment Exchange within the terms of the FSMA and is regulated directly by the FCA.
With the implementation of the FSMA, all the previous dispute resolution schemes for investment business, banking services, and insurance were amalgamated into a unified scheme, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which, although set up under the FSMA legislation, is independent of the FCA.
With minor exceptions (see footnote to this page), each firm which carries out investment business must be authorised to do so by the FCA. Such firms include stockbroking and other member firms of the Exchange, investment and fund management companies, insurance companies and pension providers, independent financial advisers, solicitors, accountants and actuaries carrying out investment business (but see below).
As from May 2000, the function of the UK Listing Authority (UKLA) was transferred from the London Stock Exchange to become a division of the Financial Services Authority (now the FCA).
The interests of shareholders during takeovers fall under the remit of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, a non-statutory body independent of the Exchange and the UKLA.
Footnote- the exceptions refer to firms of solicitors, accountants and actuaries which have elected not to be authorised for investment business by the FCA. The business carried out by such firms is restricted in scope and must be incidental or purely complementary to the professional services provided by the firm. Such firms are not directly regulated by the FCA, but by the relevant Designated Professional Body (Law Society or Institute/Association of Chartered Accountants or the Institute of Actuaries). These Designated Professional Bodies are themselves in turn accountable to the FCA in relation to the investment business carried out by the firms they regulate.
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