Apply to approve an individual or firm

Find out what you need to know before submitting your application.

You can apply to us for an individual or firm to be an approved person. Once approved, they will be able to carry out certain activities, known as controlled functions, for your firm.

You'll need to submit your application using our online system Connect. The application must include a completed Form A and any supporting documents.

You should complete the application on behalf of your firm and the candidate you're applying for, but they should be consulted during the process and will need to sign a personal declaration.

Before applying, use the guidance on this page to make sure you:

  • understand what a 'good application' looks like
  • carry out a criminal records check
  • disclose any criminal convictions

You can also read about how we process approved person applications.

If you need help, please call us on 0300 500 0597.

What a good application looks like

These are some of the things you can do to give your firm's application the best chance of success, and help us make a decision without delay.

We expect your firm to:

  • conduct its own due diligence – before submitting the application – to be confident that the candidate meets the requirements of our 'fit and proper' test
  • show that you have adequately assessed the candidate’s ability to perform the controlled functions or roles
  • submit responses within the requested deadlines

You must give us enough information including:

  • providing full explanations wherever you answer 'yes' to fitness and propriety questions
  • explaining any gaps in the candidate’s employment history and/or a termination or disciplinary in relation to a previous role
  • listing the candidate’s directorships (and former directorships) if answering 'yes' to the directorships question on the individual’s section
  • providing relevant, specific additional information to support supplementary questions

There's more guidance below about including the required signatures in the declaration, paying the application fee (if applicable) and where we still accept paper submissions.

If you're the candidate

You can be an approved person for more than one firm, but the application must show how you plan to do this. This includes how you will avoid conflicts of interests and manage any associated risks.

Directors of appointed representatives

If you perform a governing function for an appointed representative, you must be an approved person. You cannot apply on your own behalf to be this approved person – your principal (the authorised firm responsible for your actions) must apply for you.

For appointed representatives that provide general insurance business alongside their main business (for example, a vet recommending specific pet insurance), only one person in the firm needs to be an approved person. They should be a director (or equivalent) and perform one of the following governing functions:

  • director
  • chief executive
  • partner
  • director of unincorporated association

Applying for a firm

Firms can become an approved person if they are a corporation (eg LLP, Limited Company, PLC) that acts as either a director or partner within the governance structure of a firm.

If you're applying to approve a firm, you can't do this through Connect. Please contact us to send you a paper Form A including:

  • a Section 5 (fitness and propriety) for 2 senior individuals responsible for running the corporation – complete a separate Section 5 for each individual, and include their personal details in Section 6
  • the names of all directors or partners of the corporation
  • the place and date of incorporation
  • voting rights
  • copies of the Partnership Agreement if the corporation is a partnership
  • details of the governance and interaction the corporation has with your firm
  • details of how the corporate body meets the basic requirements to be an SMF manager (see SUP 10C.3.11 G in our Handbook) – in most cases, it's appropriate for the director(s) or partner(s) of the corporate body to apply for an SMF at the applicant firm

Criminal records checks

If you haven't obtained a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check of your candidate at the point you apply, your application may be rejected.

If you're applying for an SMF, you must obtain at least a standard DBS check of criminal records for the candidate.

However, note that the following SMF candidates have different requirements:

  • sole directors – a basic criminal records check is sufficient if the firm doesn't have other employees, and doesn't use third party service providers
  • sole traders don't need to seek criminal records checks for themselves, even if they also hold an SMF

Applying to the DBS

You must obtain a certificate from the DBS within 3 months of submitting your application.

Your application must include the:

  • date of the DBS check
  • details of any criminal records shown on the certificate

We don't need to see a copy of the DBS certificate unless your case officer requests this.

Find out more about obtaining a DBS check certificate.

If your candidate is based overseas

You'll need to obtain an equivalent check with the relevant authority in the country of residency, where available.

Disclosing criminal convictions

If you're a candidate to be an approved person, you must tell us about any criminal convictions.

Assessing an applicant's fitness and propriety

We judge each candidate on their own merits. We'll look at:

  • whether they have been open with us and disclosed all relevant matters
  • the seriousness of the issue and its relevance to the role they're applying for
  • the time since the issue occurred
  • whether the issue relates to an isolated incident or conveys a pattern of adverse behaviour

If we have concerns about a candidate, we will give them a warning notice that sets out our concerns and gives them the opportunity to speak with us before we make a decision.

Page updates

: Information changed Criminal records checks
: Editorial amendment Updates to page features for website refresh.