FCA Graduate Scheme & Assessment: How To Prepare?

Securing your Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) graduate programme place seems overwhelming at first. These graduate programmes offer you a headstart in understanding how financial markets work, and how you can help make them fairer and more equitable. kickstarting your financial career and arming you with technical skills within the financial services.

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The Financial Conduct authority’s graduate schemes should be the first choice programme for any young aspiring university graduate.

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What Is the FCA?

FCA logo

The FCA working to create a fair business environment in the UK. They aim to develop systems that protect consumers, promote competition and protect financial markets.

The FCA system is committed to finding problems within the financial services industry it serves and rectifying them, making a real difference in consumers’ lives. Ensuring a fair deal is not all that the FCA is about though.

The major strategic objective of the FCA is to ensure that all relevant markets function well. There is a three-year strategy in place to ensure that this happens, with goals set in place to:

  • Protect consumers and support fair market practices
  • Promote competition between firms
  • Protect financial markets and develop financial services

The FCA has created a training academy and a training pathway. The purpose of these is to aid in the development of future FCA employees. They will assist in the development of all the skills necessary to uplift students from diverse backgrounds into positions within the FCA.

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The FCA Programmes

The FCA offers two separate programmes for students and graduates to choose from.

While you are studying, you should apply for one of the FCA Summer Internship Programmes.

The Financial Conduct Authority Summer Internship Programmes run for 10 weeks over the summer. As part of your internship you will work with charity and volunteering initiatives, have the opportunity to build strong relationships and understand the intricacies of working a job with the FCA.

The Summer Internship Programmes care more about your qualities than your specific degree.

Key qualities that have benefits to the programme:

  • Strong sense of responsibility
  • Ability to stand up for what’s right
  • Professional excellence
  • Curiosity
  • Willingness to achieve

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The FCA Graduate Programmes

University graduates looking for fulfilling work in the financial sector can look no further.

The FCA graduate program offers a competitive range of benefits including:

  • Base salary of £34,000
  • Career and family leave
  • A Performance-based bonus
  • Plenty of flexible working options
  • Non-contributory pension charity and volunteering initiatives
  • A minimum of 25 days’ holiday
  • Access to sports and social clubs
  • Private health care
  • Subsidised on-site fitness centre
  • Free eye tests
  • Subsidised restaurant access
  • Interest-free season ticket loans.

And, if the benefits alone do not sell you on the programmes, the work you will be doing certainly will. The FCA is looking for a diverse group of people who are strongly determined to develop their financial careers. The specific degree you possess matters less than your willingness to learn and your capacity to support the goals of the FCA.

As an intern within one of the subsidiary programs of the FCA Graduate Programme, you will have a critical role in the development of fair markets and financial systems. Depending on your passions and the focus of your studies, the FCA offers graduates a competitive range of departments to choose from.

1. Supervision, Policy and Competition

2. Authorisations

3. Economics

4. Data, technology and Innovation

5. Market Oversight

6. Enforcement

7. Operations

8. Human Resources

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Applying for the FCA Graduate Programme

The application process for this great opportunity is, thankfully, fairly straightforward.

Before sending off your application, remember that the FCA only accepts one application per candidate. Make sure your first application is the best it can possibly be, as the options for additional applications do not exist.

1. Submit Your Application Form

You will be asked to give details on your previous career and education. It is with this application form that the FCA decides if you are a good fit for their environment. If your application is successful, you will advance to the online tests.

2. Complete the Online Tests

These online tests are strength-based assessments. You can, and should, prepare for these tests well before the assessment day. Preparation is the key to success in all avenues of your life, and this is no different.

Prepare for your online tests by going onto the Cappfinity Preparation Hub and taking a look at the mock questions they have for you.

3. Fill in the Motivational Questionnaire

The motivational questionnaire is exactly what it sounds like. In this questionnaire, you will be asked to give reasons why you are interested in becoming a part of the FCA team. You will also be asked to give insights into your skillset and explain how the FCA operates within the larger financial markets.

4. Have a Telephonic Interview

A 30-minute telephone call might seem extreme but step out of your comfort zone for this one.

The FCA will phone you and give you time to discuss your core values, motivations and competencies. You will be asked to give deeper insights into why you are the best fit for the position applied for and present any added value you believe you will bring to the FCA team.

You can plan for this interview by finding out more about competency-based interview questions.

5. Visit the Assessment Site

This is your final moment, and your most important step to becoming an FCA employee.

Your on-site assessment will take a half-day to complete and consists of three tasks set out by the FCA. The tasks are an analysis task, a presentation task and an in-person interview with a recruitment agent.

Firms like the FCA have a strong dress code. Dress well and present yourself confidently for your assessment.

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Useful Tips for your FCA Interview Process

  • Learn the values of the FCA and implicitly connect them to your personal values. The FCA looks for values-driven graduates for their programmes above education or family ties.
  • Learn the intricacies of your chosen field. Do your research before your interview and show that you take responsibility for your growth within the firm’s ethos. The more you know about your chosen job, the more likely it will be that you are hired.
  • Make sure that you show ambition, integrity and inclusivity throughout your application process.
  • Be your own bestseller. Have confidence in yourself and your capabilities. As stated before, the FCA cares more about your passion than your credentials. Give the process your everything, and do not back down from any challenges presented to you.

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