Apply to Innovation Pathways

If you want to apply for our support, find out how to submit your application, what happens next in the process and what we do with your information.

If you want to apply for Innovation Pathways support, you’ll need to complete our online application form. This form is designed to help us understand your innovation so we can decide whether we can support you. 

If you want to test your business model in the live market with real consumers, you should consider applying to the Regulatory Sandbox.

Apply to Innovation Pathways 

Submitting your application

You can only submit fully completed applications via our web form. Please note that your answers won’t be saved if you leave the form, so it's important that you're prepared before starting your application.  

You can read our draft application form to help you prepare. This includes a copy of key questions you’ll be asked as part of your application, as well as some guidance to help you answer the questions. 

Once you’ve submitted your application form, we will review it and get back to you within 4 weeks, letting you know whether you’ve been successful.

Completing your application

To maximise your chances of making a successful application, make sure you’ve read our guidance before submitting your form.

  • The more information you can provide, the easier the assessment becomes for us. We understand that your proposal may be under development and that you may not have a finished model at the time of applying, but please respond to each question in as much detail as you can.
  • Please explain how you meet each criteria individually. You must meet all the criteria to qualify for our support.
  • Consider providing supporting documentation if you have it. For example, if you’ve already completed a pitch deck, a white paper, or a business plan, then please feel free to include it.
  • Explain how your proposal is different to other businesses in the same sector. Your business may be innovative, but it’s unlikely to be completely unique. Help us understand why it’s innovative by comparing yourself to other services that your customers might use.
  • Explain why and how it’s better than existing services. Your business will need to benefit consumers and you'll need to be able to explain how. Is it cheaper, faster, or more secure? 
  • Describe how it works as a business. We need to understand how your proposal will work in terms of how it makes money, who your customers will be, and how it will be viable. 
  • Be clear on what you want from us. We can’t help with vague questions, like ‘please help us meet the rules’. You should carefully explain what you need our help with.
  • You don’t need the services of a lawyer or compliance consultant before applying for our support. However, if you’ve spoken to a lawyer, it might be helpful to include any legal advice you’ve received (if you can share it). You should consider taking on a compliance consultant before applying for our authorisation.

A fully completed application form should give us enough information to make a decision. Attaching a pitch deck to your form and answering ‘see attachment’ to each question usually doesn’t. If there is missing information from your application, we’ll get in touch to ask for the details we need.

What happens after you submit your application

  • You’ll receive an acknowledgement email within 7 days of us receiving your application.
  • A case manager will assess the application against our eligibility criteria, getting input from expert FCA stakeholders where necessary.
  • Your firm’s request will be reviewed and a decision will be made by a panel of experts. 
  • You’ll be told the panel’s decision approximately 4 weeks after submitting your request. Should you be unsuccessful, we’ll tell you which criteria you didn’t meet. 
  • If successful, you’ll receive an acceptance email and Information Sharing Consent form. An introductory call will be offered.

The type and level of support you need will be determined by your case manager at the initial meeting. 

We will provide support for 6 months. If you still need support after 6 months, you will need to reapply. Support can be extended on a 3-month incremental basis at our discretion. Any additional requests for support will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must continue to meet our eligibility criteria.

Application process

1

Apply online

2

Acknowledgment email

within 7 days

3

Application assessment

4

Panel decision

approximately 4 weeks

5

Acceptance email (if successful)

6

Initial meeting

7

Support

6 months

Sign up for application support

We hold regular support sessions designed to help you complete our application form. We can’t use these sessions to discuss your innovation or test, or to answer regulatory questions. 

To sign up for support with your application, email Innovation Pathways application support
 

Your privacy

We’ll keep your proposal confidential and would never share information externally without your consent, or unless compelled to by law. 

We may share information within the FCA to discuss it with relevant experts. We may also disclose confidential information to other bodies or persons under legal gateways that allow us to disclose such information. 

Page updates

05/05/2022: Document update Draft application form updated