Financial services providers, investment company and retail credit firms need to be Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised.
Here’s a summary of what you ought to know.
According to regulations made under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, financial activities will need to be regulated by the FCA. Any firm (whether an enterprise, a not-for-profit or a sole trader) performing a FCA regulated activities must be authorised or registered by them, unless they are exempt.
Banks, credit unions and insurance companies are regulated by the FCA and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
Applications for authorisation.
You will have to apply to the FCA (or, if you’re dual-regulated, to the PRA) for FCA authorisation. This normally will take up to 6 months if sending a packaged complete application but could very well take up to One Year if your application is not complete upon submission. Your submission could be made as comprehensive as possible if we, FCA authorisation consultants, help and guide you. There is an application fee to pay directly to the FCA Authorisations department.
Appointed Representatives (ARs).
An authorised firm may assign another firm or individual to carry on regulated activities on its behalf. When this happens, the authorised firm or ‘principal’ takes full responsibility for making sure its agent or ‘appointed representative’ adheres to the FCA rules.
Responsibilities of an authorised firm.
Once you receive FCA authorisation, there’s a fee to pay annually. You’ll also must meet the FCA’s minimum standards (threshold conditions) at all times, alongside satisfying the rules and principles relevant to your business and send the regulator reports, usually through the FCA RegData system.
Why use FCA Authorisation Consultants?
Your firm will require FCA authorisation if it carries out an FCA regulated activities under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA 2000) Regulated Activities Order (RAO).
Whether you’re seeking to broker insurance or mortgage loans, start a fintech firm, provide investment recommendations or asset management services, or operate in the Consumer Credit Act (CCA) sector your firm will have to hold FCA authorisation in order to trade unless it benefits from any of the exemptions. Claims Management Companies are also require to become authorised by the FCA.
Obtaining FCA authorisation requires displaying to the FCA that the firm’s business model is one which meets the FCA’s requirements, that the firm’s activities will be compliant, that the firm’s controllers are fit and proper, and also the firm has appropriate systems and controls in place. FCA authorisation can only be obtained if the each of the requirements are satisfied.
Our experts have years of knowledge in regulatory compliance and assisting firms with putting together and submitting applications for FCA authorisations. We know the financial services industry and we understand compliance. By having this insight we help our clients create their business model and form their compliance.
Our cost-effectiveness and customer focused strategy also means lots of small companies trust us with their FCA authorisation annually. Our team has decades of experience in compliance and regulated financial services. This experience means we understand what the Regulator is trying to find, what the important issues are to address, what typical areas of issue the FCA may have and how you can provide information in such a way that meets requirements and provides the reassurance which the Regulator is seeking.
We can provide structures for submissions and the supporting documentation which sit behind them; and as a standard, we’ll also check all material just before submission.
One of the key qualities of the service is the interpretation and response to any questions or queries which the FCA may raise; helping to ensure the process is as smooth and painless as possible.
If you want us to amend and personalise your policies, we can possibly do this also for an additional cost, but the final edit will be up to you, as it is your business that will be governed by these documents, and you need to ensure they are all singing the same tune.
Whoever you choose you will need to be clear on these issues. Does the price include:
- Compliance specialists handling your application.
- All policies and an annual compliance monitoring plan as required by the regulator?
- All forms completed on your behalf (excluding electronic signatures etc).
- All questions before submission at no extra cost.
- Recommendations on wording for text response to explain your firm’s operations.
- All regulator questions and requests for explanations throughout the approval process at no extra charge.
- Professional project management of the process.
- Your questions answered throughout the approval process at no extra cost.
Consult any of our experts today for discreet and no obligation advice about FCA authorisation on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.
- We provide advice on the key issues your firm is likely to face before, during and after the application process.
- Applications are always bespoke to the client and the specifics of their business. The FCA are critical of a “one size fits all” approach.
- Your application is usually managed by our Chief Consultant and owner, supported by other technical specialists as required.
- A properly prepared application may take a few weeks to compile, but the anxiety and frustration it saves is priceless.
- Nobody can guarantee acceptance, but we have never had a firm remove their application yet.
- The FCA regulate hundreds of business models and their processes are thorough, but the case officers are also approachable if there is any issue.
Some companies will profess that:
- Their applications achieve authorisation 2-3 months faster than average.
Reality: The regulator has a 26 week service agreement for applications – extended to 52 weeks for poorly prepared ones. Post 52 weeks – cancellation and reapplication.
- The FCA will grant your authorisation after 26 weeks.
Reality: If you do not provide any documentation, policies, logs, manuals etc within a short time scale, the authorisations calendar will “stop”, adding time to your initial projected 26 weeks.
- They charge only £750, £1,000, £3,000 or whatever.
Reality: Until you need a guidance on a specific element, query answered or policy written/provided and the costs suddenly ramp up; but you are hooked then.
- They will handle all of your documentation, to “free up your resources”.
Reality: The FCA will challenge you on your policies and procedures, and if they are not written in conjunction with you, then you will not execute them in a believable way, usually causing more uncomfortable questions and intense scrutiny. This may not be obvious initially but will unfold in the first couple of years of running your new business, and it will cost you a small fortune to get someone back in to help you.
- You are guaranteed to be accepted.
Reality: Only the FCA can guarantee acceptance and, up until now, they do not issue guarantees.
Our range of innovative solutions can be tailored to suit your unique requirements, no matter whether you’re currently working from home, or are continuing to go into the office. Our services can be deployed individually or combined to form a broader solution to release your energies and focus on your clients.
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Call Us Today on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.
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