The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on April 1, as part of the new dual regulatory regime with the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), and is now in charge of appriving individuals under the Fit and Proper Test (Photo: Reuters)
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on April 1, as part of the new dual regulatory regime with the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), and is now in charge of appriving individuals under the Fit and Proper Test (Photo: Reuters)

Since the onset of the financial crisis, only a tiny percentage of applications from financial workers seeking regulatory approval to work in some of the industry's most risk-sensitive jobs have been rejected or withdrawn.

According to data confirmed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), only 30 applications for the FSA's Fit and Proper test for Approved Persons between 2007 and 31st December 2012 were formally rejected - out of a total of 227,000.

However a spokesperson for the FCA - which took over part of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) at the start of this month - told IBTimes UK that "during the same period, over 7,000 applications were withdrawn after submission - many of which were after close scrutiny by the FSA."

The total of unsuccessful or withdrawn applications amounts to 3 percent of the total for the six-year period.

Under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the UK regulator can approve whether an individual is 'fit and proper' to work in the financial industry after assessing their application.

"The FSA [now FCA] may approve only where it is satisfied that a candidate is fit and proper to perform the controlled function(s) applied for. When considering a candidate's fitness and propriety, the FSA considers (i) honesty, integrity and reputation; (ii) competence and capability; (iii) financial soundness," says the regulator.

On 1 April 2013, the FSA split into the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the FCA, as part of a 'dual' regulatory regime.

The FCA will have responsibility for consumer issues and conduct of business regulation, and will supervise all financial services institutions - meaning that some firms will be dual regulated.

The PRA will be an operationally independent subsidiary of the Bank of England and will focus on prudential supervision of financial institutions that manage significant risks on their balance sheets.

At the beginning of this month, a study by accountancy and consultancy firm Ernst & Young revealed that fraudulent activity in the UK has led to over £1bn (€1.2bn / $1.5bn) in fines imposed by British regulators since the onset of the global financial crisis.

According to a report by the company's fraud investigation and dispute services team, the FSA, Serious Fraud Office and Office of Fair Trading determined 721 cases of fraudulent activity in that period.

While the financial services industry bore the brunt - 68 percent overall - firms that sell non-essential goods and services, as well as industrials and energy groups, also got stumped with settlements.

Meanwhile the push for companies to increase their compliance and risk management functions, following a spate of recent scandals and repercussions of the ongoing credit crisis, has led to a surge in London financial job vacancies in the first quarter this year.

According to recruitment consultant Morgan McKinley's monthly London Employment Monitor survey, job vacancies leapt 25 percent during the first three months of 2013 to 7,308 from the previous quarter, as firms look to bolster their compliance and risk management teams.