There is a lengthy application process to become FCA authorised, whether you are a credit broker, investment company, financial advisor or bank and this takes the average company around 6 – 12 months and be further delayed if they give you feedback and you have to re-submit your application. However, it can take as little as 3 to 6 months to become fully FCA authorised with the help of experienced FCA consultants.
Any individual or firm can apply for authorisation themselves, but the process is likely to take much longer (up to 12 months). The application materials are voluminous and complex and how best to complete the materials is not intuitive. The FCA will always give feedback, this is an iterative process with the initial comments provided a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks post-submission. You want to avoid a scenario where you are not being approved, receiving multiple rounds of feedback and re-submitting over and over. The worst-case scenario is that the FCA refuses the application.
Our highly-experienced team of senior FCA compliance consultants has helped gain authorisation for over 500 firms to date. We help to ensure you get authorised the first time round, assisting with key proposals, plans, documents and the submission. You can speak to one of our consultants to discuss your requirements.
What industries do you need FCA authorisation for?
According to the FCA website, you will require full authorisation for the following firms:
- Banks, building societies and credit unions
- Claims management companies
- Consumer credit firms
- Electronic money and payment institutions
- Financial advisors
- Fintech and innovate businesses
- General insurers and insurance intermediaries
- Investment managers, including hedge funds and private equity firms
- Life insurance pension providers
- Mortgage lender intermediaries
- Mortgage brokers
- Mutual societies
- Sole advisors
- Wealth managers
How long does FCA authorisation last for?
Your FCA authorisation does not ‘expire’, however you will be required to pay an annual fee to the regulator. Your license can be varied or taken away if you do not pay your fees or operate within the regulatory guidelines.
How much does FCA authorisation cost?
FCA authorisation cost varies depending on the complexity – for instance straightforward (e.g. investment advisers): £1,500, moderately complex (e.g. asset managers): £5,000 and complex (e.g. banks): £25,000.
This is the set-up fee. In addition, there are ongoing fees paid annually. The ongoing fees are based upon the complexity and volume of activities conducted.
There is a one-off fee for an application and then annual fees, which will depend on the factors mentioned above.
How can I speed up my FCA authorisation application?
The FCA states that they want applicants to be ready, willing and organised. Accordingly, they want authorisation candidates to read all materials and follow the guidance to become approved, be very clear and transparent about the offering and dealings and be organised with supportive documentation.
An authorisation candidate must demonstrate that at the point of approval it will have an appropriate systems and controls framework that is appropriate given its size nature and activities and with regard to human resource, governance, IT systems, risk and compliance, among other considerations.
Certainly having prior experience with the FCA authorisation process will give you a headstart and give you an indication of what is required.
In addition, you can use an experienced compliance consultant, who can give you firm guidance and help you put all the relevant information together so you can get approved more quickly and efficiently.
Are there alternatives to FCA authorisation?
Yes, you can work with us as a regulatory host, which involves operating under our FCA umbrella and leveraging our value and expertise at the same time – and this is often turned around in just a matter of weeks.
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.
This option is attractive to firms that want to get up-and-running quickly, and within an organisation offering a robust regulatory infrastructure – taking case of risk, compliance and operational needs.
Conversely, if you are looking to become FCA authorised, we can help you get up and running as quickly as possible. We are also able to offer ongoing compliance so that you are in a driving position to grow your business and can have peace of mind that your regulatory issues and headaches are being expertly handled by our team.
For more information, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to us on +44 (0) 207 958 9127.