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Can’t I just do it myself?

The application forms are publicly available via the FCA website, but the forms and guidance do not provide an indication as to how the FCA would like the application to be completed, and the FCA’s viewpoint in this regard changes over time.

The endgame of the application process is to demonstrate to the FCA that the applicant firm meets the threshold conditions for being FCA authorised and to a large extent the application process is an exercise of reading ‘between the lines’ in order to suss out how the FCA’s criteria for deciding whether or not a firm meets these conditions – this can only be achieved via involvement with multiple applications.

Collating and drafting the necessary paperwork and submitting your FCA application is time-consuming in and of itself (circa 2 months) and can be further delayed if the FCA poses a host of unnecessary questions. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly likely that an application that is not ‘up-to-scratch’ would need to be withdrawn and re-submitted.

Our team of senior FCA compliance consultants have helped gain authorisation for over 500 firms to date and can help to ensure that you get authorised the first-time round.

Does it only take 3 months to get FCA Authorised?

The time it takes the FCA to process a FCA application ebbs and flows, albeit they have a statutory obligation to process within 12 months. Our FCA applications team has been project managing these applications since 2003. In their experience the following average timelines can be expected:

  • Time to draft the submission: Up to 2 months
  • Time until appointment of FCA Case Officer, from date of submission: A further 2 ½  months
  • Time until appointment of second FCA reviewer[2], from appointment of Case Officer: A further 4 ½  months
  • Time until Authorisation, from second FCA reviewer appointment date: A further 3 ½ months

So in reality, the entire process is likely to take between 10 months and a year from start to finish, depending on how quickly you’re able to prepare your submission – our team of senior FCA compliance consultants have helped gain authorisation for over 500 firms to date and can help guide you in expediating this part of the process.

Can you submit a ‘skeleton’ application to the FCA and provide the FCA with additional detail later on in the process?

The FCA expects all applicant firms to be ‘ready, willing and organised’ to commence regulated activities. A half-completed application sends the signal that the firm does not have a coherent plan for becoming authorised and conducted regulated activities once authorised. The worst-case scenario is that the application would need to be withdrawn and re-submitted.

Notwithstanding this, certain aspects can be provided at a later date e.g. the identity of the firm’s auditor or final versions of fund offering memoranda.

Will your application be ‘fast tracked’ if you know someone at the FCA?

This is simply untrue. The FCA will aim to deal with all applications fairly and in due turn.

Is there no alternative to FCA Authorisation?

For many firms, including asset managers and investment advisers, there is an alternative to FCA Authorisation, which involves operating under an FCA Regulatory Hosting license and leveraging the value and expertise of the Regulatory Host at the same time. This solution can be turned around within 2 to 3 months.

Dependent upon activities conducted, either your staff members would be ‘seconded’ into the Regulatory Host or your firm would become an Appointed Representative of the Regulatory Host.

Regulatory Hosting is attractive to firms that want to get up-and-running quickly, and within an organisation offering a robust regulatory infrastructure, who take care of risk, compliance and operational needs, and are responsible for the regulatory capital requirements.

This can either be a long-term quick-to-market solution where you remain seconded into the Regulatory Host or become an Appointed Representative of the Regulatory Host indefinitely, or a medium to short-term solution to expedite getting to market soonest, whereafter you proceed with your FCA application in parallel, and move off of the Regulatory Hosting platform when you receive your FCA Authorisation. Based on the current FCA application lead-times, this can gain you as much as 10 months of trading-time.

At RQC Group, we offer both FCA Authorisation and Regulatory Hosting solutions.


All courses are accessible on our bespoke web or app platforms immediately upon purchase.



All courses are delivered through fully-automated, interactive online visual solutions.



Courses cost from as little as £20 per Learner per Course, or £6 per Learner on Subscription.



A certificate is issued on successful completion of all courses for compliance-filing and all UK courses are CPD-certified.



All courses include regular ‘Check Your Knowledge’ sections throughout and an end-of-course Quiz.



Courses take from 30 to 90 minutes to complete and can be viewed and completed in multiple sittings.


Purchasing, Onboarding & Volume Discounts

You can purchase any combination of our broad range of e-Learning courses and onboard multiple users in your Firm, in just four quick and easy online steps:

  1. Select the courses and add them to your Basket
  2. Checkout and purchase your course(s)
  3. Sign In and Register your relevant employees/Users
  4. Allocate all your registered employees/Users to their course(s)

We’ll help you connect the dots with clear prompts and assistance throughout this quick and easy four-step process, which includes applying automated Volume Discounts depending on the number of courses you purchase, as follows:

Number of courses Volume Discount
10 – 24 Courses 2.5% Discount
25 – 49 Courses 5% Discount
50 – 99 Courses 7.5% Discount
100 – 149 Courses 10% Discount
150 – 199 Courses 12.5% Discount
200 – 249 Courses 15% Discount
250 – 299 Courses 17.5% Discount
>300 Courses 20% Discount

You will receive an enrolment email for each Course you sign Users up to.

Once registered and enrolled onto their course(s), your employees/Users will each receive a welcome email inclusive of their login credentials/instructions together with a separate enrolment confirmation for each of their courses.

All Clients have access to a centralised User Dashboard with Live Reporting on the progress of all your enrolled employees/Users and from where you can download all your employees/Users Course Certificates once they have successfully completed their courses. This is clearly explained in our Power User Guide, downloadable from your Account.