Careers at The Financial Conduct Authority
The Financial Conduct Authority aims to make financial markets honest, fair and effective, by acting as the conduct regulator for 51,000 financial services firms, the prudential supervisor for 49,000 firms, and by setting specific standards for 18,000 firms.
The operational objectives of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are:
- Protect consumers
- Protect financial markets
- Promote competition
There are multiple opportunities to join the FCA, with a real focus on early careers including apprenticeships, internships, and thorough graduate programs.
Working at the FCA
The FCA offers flexible working arrangements including work from home opportunities, focusing on creating a good balance between work and family.
Aside from the competitive salary, even for graduates, employees receive a performance-related bonus as well as private healthcare, free eye tests and a non-contributory pension.
Those who are based in the London office can use the subsidised on-site fitness centre and on-site restaurant, but all employees can take part in charity and volunteering initiatives and join office sports and social clubs.
Work areas at the FCA
Applicants to the FCA can use their qualifications and experience to work in the following departments:
- Data Science
- Strategy and Competition
- Cyber & Information Resilience
- Human Resources
- International Markets
- Market Oversight
- Technology & Change
- Business Support
Financial Conduct Authority Application Process
The open opportunities at the Financial Conduct Authority are advertised on the careers portion of the website, and you can apply through the link given in the job description.
When you apply, the details in the job description will help you highlight the important parts of your qualifications and experience that will make you a preferred candidate.
Throughout the application process, bear in mind the FCA values, which are:
- Deliver in the Public Interest
- Act with Integrity
- Be Ambitious
- Work Inclusively
- Connect & Deliver
To give more detail in your application, you can look to the 11 FCA Principles, which gives you a framework for providing examples when necessary. These are:
- Skill, care and diligence
- Management and control
- Financial prudence
- Market conduct
- Customer's interest
- Communication with clients
- Conflicts of interest
- Relationships of trust
- Protection of clients assets
- Relationship with regulators
FCA Online Application Form
Using the details in the job description, make sure that your CV is tailored to match the requirements of the role. These are usually listed as Minimum, Essential, and Desirable qualifications and work experience.
In the application form, you will be asked some basic questions about who you are, what you have done and where you live - these are generally quite simple and straightforward.
The purpose of this form is to capture all the information that the recruiters need to decide whether you meet the minimum requirements before taking you further in the process.
If you fit the criteria, you will be invited to take a number of online tests.
FCA Aptitude Tests
The online tests might be published by SHL, Kenexa, or TalentQ (depending on the role), and they will be delivered to you via a link in an email. You will have a set amount of time to take the assessments, and your results will be used to decide whether you move further through the application process.
FCA Numerical Reasoning Test
A numerical reasoning assessment is not so much a maths test, as it is a way to see how you deal with numerical data in different forms.
During this assessment you will be presented with questions based on numerical information in tables, graphs and charts - usually financial or currency-based - and will need to perform basic mathematical functions to find the correct answer.
Numerical reasoning assessments are time-limited, but the answers are often presented as multiple choice, and the math skills needed to answer correctly are not that advanced. You will need to have a solid understanding of basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) as well as being confident in dealing with fractions, ratios and percentages.
FCA Logical Reasoning Test
Logical reasoning is an important skill when in a role that requires problem solving and rational thinking.
The logical reasoning assessment that you will face for a role in the FCA is presented as a matrix filled with shapes, all with a common rule to form a pattern.
To find the correct answer from the multiple choice options you will need to quickly find the pattern that makes the sequence work. This means you need to be able to recognise unfamiliar information and make a logical decision based on limited data - which is something that you will need to be able to do in the role you have applied for.
Speed is of the essence in these assessments, as the test is timed.
FCA Situational Judgement Test
A situational judgement test (SJT) is a type of psychological assessment that is used to evaluate an individual's ability to make judgements and solve problems in a work-related context.
The SJT is usually presented in the form of a written test, but it can also be given orally or as a computer-based simulation.
The format of the SJT can vary depending on the specific job for which it is being used, but typically includes a series of scenarios that the test-taker must read and then respond to. The responses are then evaluated to determine how well the individual understands and can deal with different types of work-related situations at FCA.
The SJT is generally considered to be a reliable predictor of job performance, and research has shown that it is effective in assessing a wide range of job-related skills.
FCA Motivational Questionnaire
The motivational questionnaire is a simple free-text form that asks four questions.
You have to answer in 500 words or less, demonstrating why you want to work at the Financial Conduct Authority and why you would make a good employee.
This is the ideal place to highlight your knowledge and experience as well as your qualifications for the role (using the information in the job description) while keeping the FCA values and principles in mind.
Be sure to demonstrate the research you have done about the role, the business and the wider financial market in this section.
FCA Telephone Interview
The telephone interview is often the first time that you will have a conversation with the recruitment team, and it is a relatively short question and answer session.
During the telephone interview, you can expect to answer questions based on your motivations for the role, why you want to work for the Financial Conduct Authority, and what your future plans are.
You might also be asked questions about your competencies - these are usually related to the skills needed for the role. You will need to provide examples from your work or educational experience. These answers should be short, structured and concise, so you might want to prepare some examples in advance using the information in the job description.
FCA Assessment Centre
The assessment centre usually takes place at one of the offices and lasts for half a day. Several candidates, often for multiple roles, will be invited to come and take part in a number of activities.
On the day there are several exercises to take part in, and you will be constantly assessed by the recruitment team who are looking out for so-called soft skills (communication, teamwork, leadership etc).
There is likely to be an analysis task, which involves a case study that you need to complete individually and provide the analysis information needed.
A group exercise usually comprises something job-related, like a realistic scenario, where as a group you will have to solve a problem, and often present the result to the assessors and the other candidates.
Following this, you will have a face-to-face interview. Depending on the role you have applied for, this might be with a line manager, the recruitment team, or a panel.
The questions in this interview will be a combination of motivational and competency-based (similar to the telephone interview), with an opportunity for you to ask some questions of your own.