If your firm needs to be authorised by us, or registered with us, learn about the process, our expectations and how to apply.
On this page
Please read this page in full. We know there's a lot to take in but it’s important that you understand all the stages of getting authorised.
You'll need to read this page alongside the specific information for your type of firm or business model:
- go to the authorisation homepage
- select the relevant page for your type of firm
- use this information when preparing your application
Being ready, willing and organised
We expect you to take regulation seriously. This means that when you submit your application, we expect you to be ready, willing and organised to comply with:
- our current rules and guidance on an ongoing basis, and
- any rules we introduce in the future
In your application, you'll need to show that your firm can do this and that you've planned ahead.
The application process
If your application is complete, we'll usually assess it within:
- 6 months if you're a FSMA firm
- 3 months if you're a payments or e-money firm
You're unlikely to get authorised/registered straight away. We usually have questions or seek clarification, so please allow time for this. If your application isn't complete, it could take up to 12 months.
You'll also have to pay an application fee.
What to know before submitting your application
You have to demonstrate that you can and will:
- comply with our principles of business
- comply with the relevant rules in our Handbook
- meet our minimum standards at all times
The relevant page for your type of firm will also have specific information – for example, which forms you need to complete and particular things to focus on in your business plan.
Our sample business plan explains each area we expect you to cover.
Doing these things will help your application go as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Remember to include everything
Make sure your application has no incomplete or missing forms, sign them where specified and provide passwords for any protected files. Check you've filled important positions (eg compliance officer), and thoroughly prepare your firm's financial information. It's also important to demonstrate that the technology or systems you'll be using are ready to carry out the applied-for regulated activities.
Be as clear as possible
Your business model shouldn't be generic. It needs to explain your firm's specific activities and how they align with the permissions you're applying for. In general, giving more detail is better than less. Eg if some of your firm’s controlled function holders are overseas, explain how they'll carry out their functions at a distance.
Meet our standards at all times
It's essential that you identify conflicts of interest and explain how you intend to manage or mitigate them. You must be open and co-operative with us and provide responses within the requested dates. This includes setting out what compliance arrangements you've put in place to meet your firm’s ongoing regulatory obligations.
After submitting your application
We'll assign a case officer to assess your application. They will:
- assess whether your business meets, and will continue to meet, our minimum standards
- check your application against information held by other regulatory agencies in the UK or overseas
- make a decision on your application
You should expect to hear from your case officer throughout the application process. They’ll usually have follow-up questions and may ask for further documentation or want to hold a call or meet with you.
If we hold a call with you, we might record it (capturing the audio and visuals) to help us assess your application.
You can track the progress of your application in Connect, and will have the opportunity to correct mistakes or gaps. However, if you make substantive changes which indicate that you're not ready, willing and organised, we may ask you to withdraw your application and reapply.
Our commitments to you
We know that when you apply to us, we ask for lots of detailed information about your business. In return, we offer you a set of commitments.
These commitments cover every type of application. They apply until we make a decision about your application, and we aim to meet them consistently.
If we approve your application, these are the next steps.
We add you to the Financial Services Register
Upon authorisation or registration, you're automatically added to our Financial Services Register. We'll give you a Firm Reference Number (FRN) that uniquely identifies your firm, and if applicable Product Reference Numbers (PRNs) that uniquely identify funds.
We write to you
We’ll write to you confirming your authorisation/registration. We'll confirm which regulated activities you have permission to carry out, when your permission starts and which requirements or limitations you’ve requested and/or we've decided to put in place.
You have some things to do next
Refer to our page with useful information for newly authorised firms. This includes links to the main systems you'll need to use and topics you need to be familiar with.
There are other things you may need to do once you're authorised or registered, like change your firm details or vary your permissions. There's a full list on the authorisation homepage.
We may be in touch to offer extra support
Our Early and High Growth Oversight team provides closer supervision and support to certain newly authorised firms and firms focused on growth or scaling innovative technology. You don’t need to apply to be part of Early and High Growth Oversight – we'll contact you directly if you’re included.
You can also contact us whenever you need our assistance.