Authorisation: what's involved

Financial services providers, investment firms and consumer credit firms have to be authorised by us. Here’s a summary of what you need to know.

According to provisions made under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, financial activities have to be regulated by the FCA. Any firm (whether a business, a not-for-profit or a sole trader) carrying out a regulated activity must be authorised or registered by us, unless they are exempt.

Banks, credit unions and insurance companies are regulated by us and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

Applications for authorisation

You’ll have to apply to us (or, if you’re dual-regulated, to the PRA) for authorisation. This takes up to 6 months if complete but could take up to 12 months if your application is not complete. There is an application fee.

Appointed Representatives (ARs)

An authorised firm may appoint another firm or person 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’ complies with our rules.

Responsibilities of an authorised firm

Once you’ve been authorised by us, there’s a fee to pay each year. You’ll also have to meet our minimum standards (threshold conditions) at all times, comply with the rules and principles relevant to your business and send us regular reports.

Request direct support 

The Direct Support Team provides a dedicated contact for innovator businesses that are considering applying for authorisation or a variation of permission, need support when doing so, or do not need to be authorised but could benefit from our support.


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