If you're a debt firm, you have to be authorised by us. Here we explain what you need to do before applying to us for authorisation.
To become an authorised debt firm, you have to show you meet our minimum standards – known as our threshold conditions.
Read this page before submitting your application through our online system Connect. Please note, this guidance is not exhaustive and you may need to consider additional factors on a case-by-case basis.
What to read before applying
Then review the following modules in the FCA Handbook:
- PERG The Perimeter Guidance Manual – you'll need to explain how the permissions match up with your business model
- COND Threshold Conditions – you'll need to explain how you will continue to meet each threshold condition
- CONC Consumer Credit Sourcebook – you'll need to provide details of how you comply with these rules
- SYSC Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls – you'll need to provide details of how your governance, systems and controls are appropriate
Limited or full permission
Depending on the regulated financial activities your firm carries out, you’ll have to apply to us for either limited or full permission. The minimum standards for limited permission and full permission applications are different.
Use our step-by-step guide to find out if you should apply for limited or full permission.
Not-for-profit bodies have some different questions to consider about limited and full permission. There is a separate not-for-profit guide.
If you require limited permission, you can register on our online system Connect and submit a limited permission application now.
If you require full permission, see below for the main things you need to do before applying to us for authorisation.
Preparing your application
You will need to complete:
- all the required forms relevant to your business type
- a business plan that covers all key areas – for help, refer to our sample business plan
- we also have specific business plan guidance for different types of debt firms
- an IT self-assessment questionnaire – this will help you determine whether you need to fill in the IT controls form, detailed IT controls form, or neither form
- for guidance, read our notes to the IT self-assessment questionnaire
If you're giving consumers debt advice, you also need to read our additional information for debt advice firms.
Avoid delays to the process
Many factors could delay the application process, so here is some advice to help you ensure your application goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Make sure your application has no incomplete or missing forms. Where required, documentation should be signed, with passwords provided if files are password protected.
Ensure that the technology or systems you will be using are ready to carry out the applied-for regulated activities and that you can provide evidence of how these will operate to support your business.
Your application may be delayed if you have a generic business plan and don't explain your firm's specific activities and how these align with the permissions you're applying for.
You will also need to clearly explain how and why individuals in key roles at your firm were selected, based on their qualifications or relevant experience.
It's important 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 (Principle 11) and provide responses within the requested dates.
Your application must make clear what compliance arrangements will be in place to meet your firm’s ongoing regulatory obligations.
If you need more help
Please contact us on 0300 500 0597. We're open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am to 5pm, and Thursday 9.45am to 5pm.