Certain financial services firms such as investment firms and consumer credit need to be authorised by the FCA. The FCA oversea over 60,000 financial firms and operate under 3 main objectives which essentially boil down to protect consumers and enhancing the integrity of the financial market. There are strict rules and guidelines set out by the FCA to restrict those who can be regulated.
How to become FCA authorised
The authorisation process for the FCA is a long process and usually takes at least 6 months. The process has been briefly outlined:
- Application form – The first step of the process is to complete a detailed application form. When this has been received by the FCA a case handler will be assigned to your case.
- Case Handler – The case handler and your company will then work in conjunction with your company to ensure the requirements in the FCA handbook have been met.
- Authorising individuals – Once everything is in order with your company, the FCA must approve all the key individuals including all directors and officers in key positions to ensure they are fit for their position.
- Decision letter – Finally, once the case handler has completed their investigations, a letter will be sent to the applicant approving their application or explaining the reasons behind the rejection.
Once you are authorised you have continuing obligations to pay an annual fee and send regular reports covering items required by the FCA.
Why become FCA authorised?
Consumers are always advised to use a firm that is FCA authorised due to the protection of your money if the firm goes bust, and the benefits of the access to the financial ombudsman. Once registered your company will be included on the Financial Services Register which is a database of financial service firms and individuals who are regulated by the FCA.
Authorisation by the FCA is an extra branch of protection for consumers and most will only deal with those who are regulated by the FCA. As such regulation will open up your database of potential customers.