All you Need to Know About FCA Checks

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates tens of thousands of organisations across the UK. The FCA aims to ensure that financial organisations and markets remain honest, fair and transparent.

This requires anyone who holds a position of responsibility within an FCA-regulated organisation, to be deemed trustworthy. They must be considered an ‘approved person.’ To determine a person’s honesty, credibility and integrity for FCA-regulated roles, organisations conduct background checks.

What is an FCA Check?

FCA screening checks are types of background checks that confirm people are ‘fit and proper’ for roles that the FCA regulates. These pre-employment screening checks confirm various aspects of an applicant’s suitability, ranging from their identity and education to their credit score and criminal record.

The aforementioned nominal title of ‘approved person’ is only given to employees carrying out controlled functions that FCA guidelines set out.

Who Needs FCA Checks?

The list of positions that require FCA background screening and ‘approved person’ status, covers a substantial amount of jobs within the financial sector.

These include:

  • Banks and building societies
  • Insurance companies
  • Consumer credit firms
  • Investment companies
  • Payment providers
  • Community benefits societies
  • Third-party product/service providers (that work with regulated organisations)
  • Home finance providers
  • Co-operative societies
  • Retail intermediaries

  • FCA background checks are required by anyone who accepts deposits, advises on or arranges mortgages or other investments, deals with insurance contracts or gives financial advice.

    The FCA requires each organisation it regulates to adhere to a strict code of recruitment conduct and procedures.

    What’s Involved in the FCA Check Process?

    To become an ‘approved person’ at a financial institution, all individuals must meet the FCA’s regulatory requirements. They’ll be expected to meet the following:

  • A ‘fit and proper’ test
  • Compliance with the Statements of Principle
  • Adherence to the Code of Practice
  • Disclose any information that could affect their suitability for FCA screening tests

  • Organisations should ensure they pay due diligence before hiring applicants to ensure sound honesty, competence and credibility. Multiple background checks should be completed as part of the recruitment process. These will often include (as a guideline), the following:

      Identity checks

    These checks encompass verifying a person’s identity, current and past addresses and confirm their right to work in the UK. These will also take into account a person’s status on the electoral roll and may also include a Directorship search if necessary.

      Financial checks

    Specific financial checks will often include conducting a credit check, which you can read more about in our blog post here. Alongside this, a financial company may check a candidate’s history of County Court Judgements (CCJs), bankruptcy or insolvency, and may end up conducting a Sanction Search.

      Education checks

    An employer will need to conduct an education verification check to ensure that a person has the right qualifications and credentials to apply for a position. There may be a Highest Education Establishment check, which confirms an applicant’s top level of education or this may extend to the top two or three qualifications.

      Employment history

    Employment history checks may be conducted as part of the FCA screening process, perhaps as far back as five years. This will confirm an applicant’s start and end dates of time spent at a company, what position they held. Background check companies may also conduct referencing to investigate any employment gaps spanning more than 28 days.

      DBS checks

    Criminal record checks - overseen by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - confirm a person’s criminal history. These include Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. Each one divulges a criminal record level, including spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, with the higher levels requiring additional verification from an applicant’s local police service if necessary. It’s likely to be a Basic or Standard DBS check for FCA-regulated companies that are needed. Read about our e-Bulk DBS check service here.

    At Eurocom CI, we offer additional checks for companies in the finance sector who require them, to ensure all candidates are financially stable and reliable. These can include anti-money laundering (AML) checks, notices of correction, undeclared links, Chapter 22 FCA regulatory references or verification against the Financial Services Register. We also offer checks against standards like SMCR or PCI DSS.

    FCA Screening Packages

    If you’re looking for a background check agency that can conduct numerous checks for you using a transparent system, efficient software and fast results, then look no further than Eurocom CI.

    We offer numerous background check packages for our clients, which we can tailor to fit your organisation’s needs. We’re a technology-driven and service-orientated company that wants to make your situation more manageable.

    If you’d like to discuss more bespoke services, please contact us directly.