Authorise a mutual society

Find out how to get your mutual society authorised for carrying out regulated activities.

Firms that must be authorised

Any mutual society carrying out regulated activities must be authorised to do so. Depending on the activity you undertake, you may need permission from the Prudential Regulation Authority and/or the Financial Conduct Authority. This is also known as Part 4A Permission.

You must apply to the PRA to be authorised if your mutual society carries out certain activities, including:

  • accepting deposits
  • entering into, arranging and administering a regulated mortgage contract
  • effecting contracts of insurance
  • carrying out contracts of insurance

Read more about this in our MCOB Handbook.

Credit unions

To authorise a credit union, please see:

Before you apply

Before you apply to authorise a mutual society, you should:

  • contact the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and ask for a pre-application meeting
  • prepare and send a draft business plan outlining your planned activities
  • prepare and send a draft rulebook

The pre-application process

  1. The PRA will contact you to set up a pre-application meeting with the PRA and FCA.
  2. At the meeting you can discuss the authorisation process and will be told about any further information they or we need from you.

After the pre-application process, you should then apply to be authorised.

Apply to be authorised

You must apply to the PRA to be authorised:

What you must do when you’re authorised

Once you’re authorised you must start activities.

Your authorisation may be cancelled or varied if you don’t:

  • start activity within 12 months of the authorisation date
  • continue activity for at least 12 months

Application fees

It costs £500 to apply – you must include a cheque with your application.

This isn’t refundable, even if you withdraw the application.

Societies are also charged other fees and levies.

How long the process takes

It can take up to 6 months to process a complete application. This depends on the:

  • risk
  • complexity
  • quality of information supplied

It can take up to 12 months to process an incomplete application.

Penalties and fines

You can be prosecuted and fined if you carry out regulated activities without being authorised.

Contact us

You can get advice from professional advisers (like solicitors, auditors or consultants).