PS22/5: New cancellation and variation power: Changes to the Handbook and Enforcement Guide

Consultation opens
09/09/2021
Consultation closed
29/10/2021
Policy Statement
19/05/2022
19/05/2022

We are changing our Handbook and Enforcement Guide to give guidance on our new power to cancel or vary the statutory permissions of many FCA-authorised firms to carry on FCA-regulated activities.

Read PS22/5 (PDF)

What we are changing 

The  Financial Services Act 2021 (FS Act) has given us an additional power, which allows us to act more quickly and efficiently to: 

  • vary or cancel the statutory permissions to conduct FCA-regulated activities of many FCA-authorised firms, where those firms:  
    • appear to be carrying on no FCA-regulated activities for which they have permission, and 
    • have not responded as we have directed to our notices warning of the risk of such action, and 
  • reflect such variations and cancellations on the Financial Services Register 

We consulted on initial changes to our Handbook relating to this new power in our Consultation Paper 21/16 (CP21/16). We publicly confirmed making that first set of changes in our Handbook Notice 90 in July 2021. In September 2021 we consulted, in our Consultation Paper 21/28 (CP21/28), on further such changes, as well as on associated changes to our Enforcement Guide (EG).   

We have now made the changes we consulted on in CP21/28, with some minor modifications. This Policy Statement (PS) explains those modifications and sets out our responses to relevant feedback we received to CP21/28.  

Who this applies to 

Firms authorised or deemed, under the temporary permissions or supervised run-off regimes, to be authorised by the FCA under Part 4A of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). It does not apply to firms authorised by us otherwise than under Part 4A, for example payment service providers or electronic money issuers.  

This may also interest individuals who hold approved functions at Part 4A FCA-authorised firms, and professional advisers to such firms.   

Some of our responses to feedback may also be of interest to those that use or do business with FCA-authorised firms that are debt collectors, credit brokers, buy-to-let mortgage brokers or corporate finance advisers or to those that are appointed representatives of FCA-authorised firms.  

Background 

We have always been able to cancel or vary a firm’s permissions to carry out FCA-regulated activities if it hasn’t used them so we can update our Register and reduce the risks of harm to consumers. But we had to wait 12 months to do so in some situations.

Now, we have a new power to cancel or vary permissions without the firm applying or us getting the firm’s consent. We can use this new power if we consider that a firm is currently carrying on none of the regulated activities it has permission for. We no longer have to wait 12 months.

The new power is set out in Schedule 6A to FSMA, which also provides a more streamlined procedure for us to follow when using this new power and makes it possible for us to reverse or annul our decisions to use it.

Next steps

What you need to do next 

If you are an FCA-authorised firm that is not or no longer carrying on any FCA-regulated activity, please consider asking us to cancel your permission. See how to cancel an authorisation.  

Similarly, FCA-authorised firms that no longer carry on particular regulated activities within the scope of their permissions should consider asking us to remove those activities. See how to apply for a variation of permission

What we will do next 

We will start using the new power to cancel or vary the permissions of FCA-authorised firms.  

Page updates

20/01/2022: Information added consultation has closed