Change of legal status

If we authorise your firm and you are thinking of changing its legal status, eg, from a partnership to a limited company - you must apply for authorisation for the new company.

Read our criteria for assessing this type of application.

We will automatically cancel your firm's previous legal entity when the authorisation for the new firm begins.

The following consumer credit firms are able to use the Change of Legal Status form:

  • Credit brokers
  • Firms providing credit information services
  • Lenders (except High Cost Short term Credit)
  • Debt collectors
  • Debt administrators

If you are a consumer credit firm wishing to change your legal status (subject to meeting our criteria), please complete the relevant forms as detailed below.

Forms

New application forms for Change of Legal Status regarding MiFID firms, including Article 3 exemption firms, were issued on 3 January 2018. Until 31 March 2018, we’ll accept any applications that were already being completed in draft using the previous forms. After 1 April 2018, you will need to apply using the new application forms. If you have started to draft applications  for MiFID firms using our previous forms, you should consider whether it is appropriate to switch to the new forms issued on 3 January 2018.

All non-MiFID firms should complete:

then you should also complete the form relevant to your firm type:

Retail firm types (all Word documents)

Wholesale firm types

If your firm is making changes to its controllers, close links, groups or European Economic Area (EEA)/non EEA firms, you should also complete the owners and influencers form.

All MiFID/ Article 3 firms should complete:

Application fee

The application fee you will have to pay when you apply is half the usual authorisation application fee. For example a 'straightforward' application is £750 and a 'moderately complex' application is £2,500. Most financial advisers, mortgage brokers and general insurance intermediaries will be straightforward applications. The cost to change the legal status of a consumer credit firm is 50% of the application fee previously paid in order to be FCA authorised. 

Processing time

We process most applications well within the statutory standards of 6 months for a complete application (where we do not require any additional information) or 12 months for an incomplete one.

You will get a new FCA firm reference number, and will need to tell the product providers you deal with so they can update their records.

Changing members of a partnership

If someone resigns from a partnership, then providing that there is more than one remaining partner, you can continue with your existing authorisation, but will need to tell us of the change in membership. The same applies if a new partner joins, as long as the business activities are the same as before.

If you are left with only one remaining partner, you cannot continue to operate as a partnership. You will need to apply to change your legal status, to become either a limited company or a sole trader.

Customers

If you have any ongoing contractual agreements with your customers, you must contact them and agree either to amend their existing contracts or to agree new contracts to take into account the change in your firms legal entity.

Otherwise you should let your customers know about the change in the legal entity as and when you next deal with them.

When you apply to change your legal status we will require your firm to agree to deal with any complaints from existing customers in the same way that it would customers of your new legal entity. We have this requirement to prevent firms leaving behind their obligations to their customers by changing their legal entity.