Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is responsible for overseeing all non-banking financial services in South Africa. The FSCA implements a range of rules and regulations that financial services companies and trading brokers must adhere to. These rules aim to ensure that the financial markets are fair and safe for both companies and their customers. This article will explain the role and requirements of the FSCA, as well as its history, structure and criticisms. Also check out our list of FSCA regulated brokers below.

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What Is The FSCA?

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority, also known as the FSCA, is a key financial regulator in South Africa (ZA). The agency is headquartered at an address in Pretoria and operates as an independent government body, overseeing the private sector.

The values of the FSCA are:

  • Agility
  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Diligence
  • Camaraderie
  • Perseverance

In 2017, the Financial Sector Regulation (FSR) Act extended the jurisdiction of the FSCA to include oversight of financial products and services not overseen by the FSB, including services related to credit and the buying and selling of foreign exchange (forex).

FSCA logo

The FSCA’s strategic focus areas over the next few years include:

  • Building a new organisation
  • Informing financial customers
  • Creating an inclusive and transformed financial sector
  • Strengthening the efficiency and integrity of the financial markets
  • Understanding new ways of doing business and disruptive technologies
  • Ensuring a robust regulatory framework that promotes fair customer treatment

History

Before the Financial Sector Conduct Authority was formed in 2018, South Africa’s primary regulator was the Financial Services Board (FSB). The FSB was established in 1991 on the recommendation of the Van der Horst Committee. The plan was to create an independent body to supervise and regulate non-banking financial services, including retail trading brokers. During its time, multiple acts expanded the role of the FSB, including:

  • The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (2001)
  • The Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (2004)

But unfortunately, the FSB was unable to prevent a number of scandals, especially in the pension funds industry. These issues led to investigations and the subsequent signing of the FSR Act.

Among several changes, the act dissolved the FSB and led to the creation of two new bodies in 2018:

  1. The Prudential Authority (PA) – Responsible for regulating banks, insurers, cooperative financial institutions, financial conglomerates and certain market infrastructure.
  2. The Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) – Responsible for regulating all non-banking financial services, including forex, stock and CFD trading.

Structure

The Commissioner of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority sits at the top of the organisation. Currently, that position is occupied by Mr Unathi Kamlana. Beneath him, there are three Deputy Commissioners and a team of executives tasked with the management of different aspects of the regulator’s remit. These include financial aspects such as annual reports, managing BEE certificates and licensing, regulatory policy, pension fund supervision, plus media releases.

Financial sector conduct authority

Responsibilities & Powers

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has a broad range of responsibilities and powers to ensure the smooth running and safety of local financial markets. As stated on its website, the aims of the body are to:

  • Assist in maintaining financial stability
  • Enhance the efficiency and integrity of financial markets
  • Promote fair customer treatment by financial institutions
  • Provide financial education and promote financial literacy

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa also provides a regulated entity search via an online database. This is essentially a register where traders can check if a broker or platform is licensed to provide retail trading services.

The FSCA has the power to exclude companies and brokers if they do not comply with rules and regulations. For offences that do not require immediate expulsion, the FSCA can issue fines and reprimands. The agency also has the power to ban individuals from participating in certain financial activities, such as forex trading.

Broker Requirements

Brokers looking to obtain a license from the FSCA must provide documents to support their application. Documents will need to give details on operational capital requirements, compliance functions, human resources, and more. Additional information may also be requested:

  • Break-even analysis
  • Proof of physical address
  • Risk management processes
  • Annual financial statements
  • Business interruption defences
  • Compliance policy for the ODP
  • Source of funding (if applicable)
  • Schematic structure of the ODP

Criticisms

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority is relatively new, and as such, has not yet faced significant criticism. However, its predecessor the Financial Services Board (FSB), was the centre of many failures. During its time, the FSB was unable to prevent significant scandals in the pension fund industry. Also, it was accused of favouritism and overcharging for legal and administrative services. Many of its interactions with financial service providers were described as harsh, leading to negative news stories and press coverage.

A report by the Public Protector reprimanded the FSB for a range of failures spanning a decade. Ultimately, these failures led to the FSR Act and the subsequent creation of the Prudential Authority and Financial Sector Conduct Authority.

Final Thoughts On The FSCA

The FSCA has worked hard to rebuild the reputation of South Africa’s financial regulators following the failures of the FSB. And whilst there is still progress to be made, the FSCA has established itself as a reputable regulator that both brokers and traders can trust.

Before opening an account with a broker, check the firm is approved by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority using the regulated company search on the official FSCA website.

FAQ

What Was The Financial Sector Conduct Authority Previously Called?

The regulatory body was previously known as the FSB, meaning the Financial Services Board. This was disbanded in 2018 and replaced by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

Who Appoints The Financial Sector Conduct Authority Commissioner?

The process of appointing the FSCA Commissioner is mandated by the National Treasury. The National Treasury also processes the appointments of two or three Deputy Commissioners.

On Which Date Did The Financial Sector Conduct Authority Become Operational?

The FSCA started official operations on the 1st of April 2018. Before this, South Africa’s financial markets were overseen by the Financial Services Board (FSB).

Does The Financial Sector Conduct Authority Regulate Forex Brokers?

Yes, the FSCA regulates forex brokers, as well as companies offering trading in stocks, commodities, cryptos and CFDs. The agency oversees all non-banking financial services in the country.

Is The FSCA The Same As The UK’s FCA?

The two bodies essentially have the same role – regulating providers of financial services. However, the FCA is concerned with the UK markets while the FSCA’s jurisdiction covers South Africa.

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