A to Z of financial terms

See our definitions to help you understand financial and legal terms.

First published: 20/03/2023 Last updated: 20/03/2023

This is a new service and we are still building our library of terms - please let us know any comments or suggestions for new definitions in the page feedback section below.

Financial adviser

Makes recommendations on what you should do with your finances. This may include investments, pensions, mortgages, insurance or planning for the future. You may also get advice if you're looking to manage any debt you have. A financial adviser should be authorised by the FCA through the financial services firm they work for. Read more about financial advice on MoneyHelper.

Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free service that settles complaints between financial business and their customers. Visit the Financial Ombudsman.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

The FSCS is an independent, free service that can step in to pay compensation if the financial firm you've used has gone out of business and can't pay your claim. Visit the FSCS.

Financial Services Register (FS / FS Register)

The Financial Services Register is a record of the firms and individuals we authorise. Find out more about the FS Register.

Firm reference number (FRN)

We currently use a 6-digit or 7-digit number to uniquely identify firms, and 6-digit Product Reference Numbers (PRNs) to identify funds. Use this number to search the Financial Services Register.

Foreign money transfer scams

These scams often involve fraudulent communications that claim to be from foreign government officials needing help to transfer large sums of money. The fraudsters usually claim you'll receive a share of a much larger sum of money once the transfer is made. Find out more about money transfer scams.

Forex or foreign exchange (FX)

Global marketplace for trading international currencies and derivatives.

Futures contract

A derivative contract in which each party agrees to exchange assets or securities at a future date and at a price agreed by both parties. Because they're high risk, they're not suitable for all customers. Our rules mean that these products must be marketed and sold appropriately to the right customers.