Exemptions and exclusions from authorisation

There are some circumstances where firms don’t need to be authorised by us. Find out if you qualify.


Some firms engaged in regulated activities don’t, depending on the circumstances, need to be authorised by us. These can include:

  • professional firms – such as solicitors, accountants or actuaries
  • firms offering payment by instalments
  • appointed representatives working on behalf of firms that are already authorised


There are some circumstances where activities that would normally be regulated are unregulated. These can include certain overseas activities and those where potential customers are introduced to firms.

Check and check again

The exemptions and exclusions mentioned above are not exhaustive. For full details, refer to PERG 2.7 and 2.8 in our Handbook.

You can also see a list of regulated activities and find out about debt counselling exclusions.

If you're still not sure whether you need to be authorised, please contact us.

You need to be absolutely sure you qualify for an exemption or exclusion from being authorised. If you get it wrong, you could end up committing a criminal offence.

Instalment credit firms

If you're a consumer credit firm that only offers instalment credit agreements, you may be exempt from our authorisation – check the criteria below.

Local authorities

The following local authorities qualify for exemptions:

  • county councils
  • district councils
  • unitary councils
  • London borough councils
  • the Greater London Authority
  • the Common Council of the City of London
  • the Council of the Isles of Scilly
  • in Scotland, a local authority within the meaning of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973
  • in Northern Ireland, a district council within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972

If you’re one of the above, you can carry on certain regulated consumer activities and be exempt from our authorisation. Below are some examples.

When to apply for authorisation as a local authority

You'll need to apply if you're a:

  • local authority carrying out non-exempt regulated activities
  • firm owned by a local authority carrying on consumer credit activities – you'll either need full authorisation or interim permission

Find out how to apply for authorisation.

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