The Financial Market Authority (FMA) is an integrated regulatory organization in charge of overseeing the activities of banks, forex brokers, financial service providers, corporate provision funds, pension companies, investment firms, stock exchange companies, insurance providers, capital markets, and the like in all of Austria. After its establishment in 2002, FMA took it upon itself to ensure fair dealing practices, transparency as well as compliance of all the participants of the Austrian market according to the laws and regulations. In this way, both the risks and rewards associated with any financial offer or service would be known to all parties to achieve a safe and secure trading atmosphere for all. Additionally, FMA takes preventative measures in terms of money laundering and terrorist funding. The organization has also the administrative power to issue, cancel or suspend the license of registered members. The Financial Market Authority consists of six separate departments, namely Banking Supervision, Insurance and Pension Company Supervision, Securities Supervision, Integrated Supervision, Services, and Bank Resolution. FMA works side by side with the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), the Austrian Parliament, and the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB). It should be noted that FMA is also active on an international level, especially within European committees.
In 2008, reform has led to further collaboration between FMA and OeNB in terms of micro and macro-prudential supervision. There is also a significant collaboration between the FMA and State Commissioner leading to a more united front in terms of analyzing the risky actions and taking the necessary precautions. Furthermore, the Financial Market Stability Board (FMSB) was founded in 2014 to solidify the stability of financial markets in Austria in terms of macro-prudential matters. As an independent authority and also as part of the European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), FMA sees to it that every aspect of its responsibilities is completely taken care of for a better and more improved risk/solution-based supervisory presence.
There are certain individual laws that FMA ought to abide by to perform its duties, namely the Finanzmarktaufsichtsbehördengesetz (Financial Market Authority Act), Nationalbankgesetz (National bank Act), Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz (Insurance Supervision Act), Börsegesetz (Stock Exchanges Act), and the Kapitalmarktgesetz (Capital Market Act). The supervision of these responsibilities is divided by focusing on the ‘Solvency’ of the banks, insurance companies, and so on, as well as ‘Market and Conduct’ in terms of transparency and fair dealing practices. Banking supervision (licensing, on-site inspections, etc.) insurance and pension supervision (insurance undertakings, pension companies, etc.), and securities supervision (monitory credit institutions, stock exchange, etc.) are the three key departments of the Austrian financial market. The Federal Act on the Recovery and Resolution of Banks enables FMA to further stabilize the Austrian financial market. Finally, FMA has to make sure that the consumers, creditors, and investors are protected in regards to the solvency and compliance of their service providers. FMA also keeps the channels of communication open for those who need to address certain issues or voice their concern regarding their financial service providers.