If you're a retail investment 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 retail investment 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 and investment types match up with your business model, and how you intend to hold and/or safeguard any client money or assets
- COND Threshold Conditions – you'll need to explain how you'll continue to meet each threshold condition
Depending on your business type and the permissions you wish to apply for, you should also review the following prudential standards/specialist sourcebooks that are relevant to your firm:
- Interim Prudential sourcebook for Investment Businesses (IPRU-INV) – you'll need to review this if you have applied for investment permissions
- Prudential sourcebook for Mortgage and Home Finance Firms, and Insurance Intermediaries (MIPRU) – you'll need to review this if you have applied for mortgage, home finance and/or insurance permissions
- Consumer Credit sourcebook (CONC) – you'll need to review this if you have applied for consumer credit permissions
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
- 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
Avoid delays to the process
Many factors could delay the application process, so follow the information below to 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.
If applicable, you'll need to be able to provide notice of resignation to your employer, or notice of authorised representative termination with your principal.
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.