Using the Financial Services Register

Find out how to check if a firm is authorised, what it means if you’re using an Appointed Representative, and what to do if a firm is unauthorised.

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First published: 20/03/2023 Last updated: 14/12/2023 See all updates

In the UK, almost all financial firms must be authorised by us.

Being authorised means that firms must meet certain standards and follow our rules.

These rules are there to make sure that you’re treated fairly, you’re protected, and the products and services you’re offered are suitable. 

How to check a firm is authorised

You can check our Financial Services Register (FS Register) to make sure a firm or individual is authorised. It will also tell you the activities the firm has permission for. 

Search the FS Register 


Search for the firm by name, or by using its firm reference number (FRN).


If the firm is authorised, check it has permission for the products and services you need, to reduce the risk of something going wrong.


Check the firm’s contact details and make sure they match the contact details you’ve been given. If there aren’t any contact details listed, or the firm says they’re out of date, call us on 0800 111 6768.


If the firm is authorised but you’re not sure what protections you have, ask the firm using the details on the FS Register. 

You should also check with the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) to get a better idea of how you’d be covered if something went wrong.

If you’re struggling to check the FS Register, find out how to contact us.

Using authorised firms

If a firm is authorised, it gives you greater protection if things go wrong. 

If you deal with a firm that isn’t authorised, or that doesn’t have permission for the activities you need, you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman if you have a complaint.

You also won’t be protected by the FSCS if the firm goes out of business. This means that it’s unlikely you’d get your money back.  

What to do if a firm is unauthorised

Unfortunately, there are firms that work without our authorisation. This is against the law.

If we’ve published a warning about an unauthorised firm, this will appear on the FS Register when you search for the firm.

Some unauthorised firms might appear as clone firms. A clone firm is a copy of a genuine, authorised firm. Scammers pretend to be working for the authorised firm to con you.

For a full list of the firms we’ve published warnings about, you can search our Warning List

Find out more about how to protect yourself from scams.

No longer authorised or revoked firms

If you see a firm that's 'No longer authorised' or 'Revoked' it means that the firm's authorisation has been cancelled and you should avoid dealing with it.

Appointed Representatives

You may notice that some firms on the FS Register are listed as Appointed Representatives (ARs). This means they’re carrying out activities on behalf of another firm, known as their principal.

ARs can have more than one principal. The principal agrees what activities the AR can do and is responsible for that business. 

It’s important you check with the principal what these activities are. If the AR has gone beyond the activities the principal has allowed, you may not be protected by the Financial Ombudsman or the FSCS if something goes wrong. 

You can find contact details for ARs and principal firms on the FS Register

Page updates

: Information added Check protections with Financial Ombudsman and FSCS.
: Information added No longer authorised or revoked firms.