We are an independent non-governmental body, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Our role is to regulate the financial services industry in the UK.

Under FSMA, we have four statutory objectives:

  • maintaining confidence in the UK financial system;
  • promoting public understanding of the financial system;
  • securing the appropriate degree of protection for consumers; and
  • helping to reduce financial crime.

We are funded by the industry, not the taxpayer.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) became law in the UK on 30 November 2000 and is being implemented in stages. It gives the public a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right of access and places a number of obligations on such authorities. The government has designated us as a public authority for these purposes.

An independent Information Commissioner enforces the FOIA. The Commissioner is responsible for approving publication schemes. Our Scheme was approved by the Information Commissioner and has been available to the public since 29 February 2004. From January 2005 we have been responding to individual requests for information, either by disclosing some or all of the information requested or giving reasons why the request will not be fulfilled, based on the exemptions set out in FOIA.

Personal data, which is covered by the Data Protection Act (DPA), is exempt under FOIA, although FOIA amends the DPA. The main effect of these amendments is that, from 1 January 2005, Data Protection requirements cover all recorded personal information that we hold. Details on how to request personal data from us and the cost of doing so are given in Class 4 of this Scheme.

 

Under the Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act requires us to publish and maintain a 'publication scheme'. The Scheme must set out

  • the types of information we will publish ('classes of information');
  • the way in which the information will be published; and
  • whether or not we will charge for providing the information.

There are a number of ways that you can obtain information under our Scheme, if you cannot access it directly from the Internet (see Part 2 under Requesting Publications).

 

From January 2005

From January 2005 we have been responding to individual requests for information. Any person who wishes to exercise the right of access to information that we hold must write to or email us specifying the information requested, if it is not in our Scheme. Subject to certain exemptions, we must inform the person whether we hold the information and provide it within 20 working days of receiving the request. This applies to any information we hold including that of our predecessor bodies; including the Bank of England Supervision Division, the Building Societies Commission, the Insurance Directorate HMT, the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation (IMRO) the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA), the Securities and Investments Board (SIB), the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) and the Central Office of the Registry of Friendly Societies (RFS) and the Friendly Societies Commission (FSC).

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Guide to making a 'Right to Know' request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000


Introduction

This note is designed to help you make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 by completing the 'Right to Know' request form below. It is not intended to be a guide to the Act itself.

Freedom of Information law is set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), available from the OPSI website. Further information and advice is also available from the website of the Information Commissioner who regulates the Act.

 

The FSA's Duty

The FSA is only required to respond to requests in writing that state the name and address of the applicant and a description of the information required (s.8(1)FOIA).

While the FSA will approach each request in a positive manner with a view to disclosing the required information, exemptions contained in Part II; s.21-44 of the Act may be applied.

 

Processing by the FSA

Processing of applications, from the date the request is received at the FSA, will take up to 20 working days as permitted under the Act. The exception to this is where:

  • a "Fees Notice" has been issued;
  • a qualified exemption applies;
  • the Lord Chancellor extends the period through regulation, or,
  • further details are required to locate the information.

 

Payment

When a request is received, the FSA may issue a Fees Notice. This will be in writing, stating the amount to be paid if you wish us to process your request. Under the Act you have three months to pay, beginning with the day on which the Fees Notice is issued. Unless the fee is paid the FSA is not obliged to comply with the request (s.9(1)(2)).

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Completing the application form


Contact Address

Please ensure that you complete this section fully as all correspondence will be sent to the address that you give here.

If you wish to receive the information in a particular format please state what that format is. We will aim to comply with your request where it is reasonably practical to do so.

 

Helping us to find the information

To help us with our searches please tell us exactly what you are looking for and provide us with any additional information that you think will help us to retrieve it, such as:

  • the subject matter;
  • who in the FSA was/might be dealing with it;
  • which business area within FSA may have the information; and
  • any relevant dates.

This is in keeping with s.1(3) of the Act.

 

Submission

To make a 'Right to Know' request for information which is not published in our publication scheme please:

  • Complete and submit the Right to Know online request form, or,
  • Download a printable copy, complete by hand and send it to us at the address below.
  • If, after having read this note, you require further advice on filling out the form, please contact the Information Access Team.

 

By post

Information Access Team
The Financial Services Authority
25, The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London E14 5HS

By email

foi@fsa.gov.uk

 

By phone

FSA's FOI Helpline: 020 7066 8080

 

Contacting You

We will acknowledge your request. Please note we may need to contact you to discuss your request; we will use the contact details you have provided unless you indicate otherwise.

The information provided on this form will only be used for the purposes of dealing with your request under the provisions of the Act. The information will be retained in accordance with our Records Management and FSA Data Protection Policy Statements.

 

To Note

If the information you are requesting is about you, this will be dealt with under the "subject access" provision of the Data Protection Act. For information about how to make a request to the FSA see the Subject Access Request form.

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The FSA and the Freedom of Information Act

As required by FSMA, and in line with our own policy, we are already a transparent organisation. We make substantial quantities of information available to the public. FSMA establishes a framework of accountability which includes the following elements:

  • an Annual Report on our work to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he lays before Parliament;
  • an Annual Public Meeting at which our Annual Report is discussed and members of the public can ask questions;
  • an obligation to consult on proposed policies and rules. We do this by publishing Consultation Papers, Feedback Statements, Policy Statements, Discussion Papers etc. Responses to our Consultation Papers are available for inspection on request, unless the respondent has requested confidentiality; and
  • as part of our arrangements to consult consumers and practitioners, an obligation to establish and maintain a Consumer Panel and a Practitioner Panel. These Panels publish annual reports on their work and discussions with us, and we publish our response to their recommendations and views.

As well as these statutory requirements, we publish a wide variety of other material because of our policy of openness and transparency. Examples include: our Annual Plan and Budget; a summary Annual Report; the Baird report on our supervision of Equitable Life. Examples also include reports on our regulation of particular industry sectors, for example the Tiner reports on our reform of insurance regulation; and research which we carry out to inform our policy development. Also, we participate actively in a wide range of public conferences and seminars, and speeches by FSA senior management are available on our website.

FSMA imposes restrictions - subject to criminal penalties - on disclosure of information which we receive in the course of carrying out our duties. In turn FOIA protects such information from disclosure. There are sound public policy reasons for this: those who provide information to a regulator must be able to feel confident that the confidentiality of the information will be respected. But it does mean that a large amount of our information will be exempt under FOIA.

Our general approach to implementing FOIA is to use this opportunity to enhance our existing accountability by disclosing more information. We have reviewed the types of information we hold, consulted overseas regulators who are already subject to similar freedom of information legislation and carried out a survey of the kinds of requests we currently receive. As a result we have decided to publish further information on particular issues. Examples of this new information range from aggregate information of the results of our work in various industry sectors and more detail on some of our regulatory processes, to more information on our Board, on the responsibilities of the chairman and the chief executive and on employment policies. We have also incorporated the content of our existing website, restructuring that information in a way which is easy to use.

Where necessary we have noted that a class may contain information which we consider exempt from disclosure. We have included this to ensure that the interests of our stakeholders are not compromised. Each class is limited as described in the notes.

This Scheme is available in both hard copy and on our website.

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