Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate conceptualizations of Europeanization, the difficulties this creates when assessing the impacts of the European Union (EU) on member states and the influence member states have on the EU policymaking processes. There are also problems when considering questions regarding the basis of Europeanization in terms of its relationships with globalization, governance, institutionalization, polity, politics and policy. Design/methodology/approach – Different conceptualizations of Europeanization concentrate on distinct methodological positions and whether Europeanization may best be understood as “situation” or “process”. Indeed, difficulties are further exacerbated when identifying the extent that drivers for change at the EU and domestic level involved Europeanization, domestication, globalization and/or European integration. Meso theory identifies “process” and substantive theory “situation” in terms of downloading (En1), uploading (En2) and crossloading (En3). Each of these conceptualizations allow “situations” where empirical reliability could be made explicit from a particular perspective. Findings – This paper investigates and assesses the Europeanization of UK financial services and provides a conceptualization of Europeanization as both meso (middle range) and substantive theory. By breaking down meso theory into substantive theories (uploading, downloading and crossloading) the analysis attempts to clarify the interaction between Europeanization, globalization and domestication in relation to impacts on UK financial services regulation. Following an assessment of UK financial services in general, this paper concentrates on the concept of “competent authority” and how the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) displays attributes outlined in the directives. Through an analysis of the Third Life Assurance Directive, Second Banking Directive and FSA this paper identifies a number of issues relating to how the EU responded to sector demands and how Europeanization is actualized through domestic response. Originality/value – Europeanization indicates a continual interaction or dialectic between the uniformity of the EU and the diversity of the individual member states. The process involves interaction between global, domestic and European variables with the European dimension in relation to domestic interpretation providing a mechanism whereby dominant economic global factors can be diminished or enabled.