Financial services firms and authorisation

Here’s a checklist of the main things you need to do before applying to us for authorisation.

7 things to do before applying

  1. Match your financial services to our ‘regulated activities’ and check you meet our threshold conditions for authorisation.
  2. Define the systems and controls supporting your regulated activities and check they meet our ‘threshold conditions’ (you should test and launch these before we decide on your application).
  3. Check your people have the qualifications we require (for example, financial advisers should have a Level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning).
  4. Define who needs ‘approved person’ status from us in your application.
  5. Prepare a business plan.
  6. Complete the IT self-assessment questionnaire, as required.
  7. Refer to the application form guidance.

IT self-assessment questionnaire

Complete the IT self-assessment questionnaire to discover if you need to fill in the IT controls form, detailed IT controls form (or neither form).

There is a separate IT self-assessment questionnaire for firms that come under MiFID. If you need to make a MiFID application, complete the questionnaire to find out which IT forms you need to use.

Download the IT self-assessment questionnaire (DOC)

Read the notes to the questionnaire (PDF)

Download the MiFID IT self-assessment questionnaire (XLS)

Business plan

Here are some things to include:

Objectives and customers

  • full explanation of your business, its background (including its legal structure and creation) and what it will do
  • objectives (eg business opportunity, market share, aims, assets under management)
  • target market, key customers, distribution, products and pricing
  • marketing strategy
  • experience your customer will have of your business from day one
  • key dependencies and business risks

People and governance

  • details of your intended investment strategies, fee and remuneration policies, governance framework and key personnel
  • experience your firm's principals have in the regulated activities you want to carry on
  • employment background, experience and relevant qualifications of each person performing a controlled or senior management function and how this will help them
  • analysis of key conduct risks

Plans and projections

  • long-term strategy and expansion plans
  • outsourcing plans or other key operational matters
  • financial projections for either one year or three years, depending on your MiFID status

Other types of firms

Consumer credit firms – See our checklist list of things to do before applying

Wholesale investment firms – See what forms you may need to complete for your application

Retail investment firms – Find out what forms you may need to complete for your application

Banks, credit unions and insurance firms are regulated by both us and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The PRA is your single point of contact for the application process.

See the PRA's information on new firm authorisation

Detailed information

View a list of financial activities we regulate

See what we mean by ‘threshold conditions’ 

Find out more about approved persons and significant-influence functions