Becoming FCA Authorised can be a lengthy process, usually taking around 6-12 months with no feedback and re-submissions, but even longer if this is needed. However, if you have the help of an experienced FCA Consultant, this process could take as little as 3-6 months.
It is likely to take much longer, up to 12 months, if an individual or a firm apply for FCA Authorisation themselves as the application process is lengthy and complex. After 6-8 weeks post-submission, the FCA will give feedback, which in turn can increase the length of time it takes to get FCA Authorisation if you go through multiple rounds of feedback before being accepted. However, the FCA can simply refuse the application.
Which Industries Do You Need FCA Authorisation For?
The FCA website lists that full authorisation is needed for the following industries:
- 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
- Mutual Societies
- Sole Advisors
- Wealth Managers
How Much Does FCA Authorisation Cost?
The set-up fee of FCA Authorisation depends on the complexity of the business : £1,500 for straightforward, such as Investment Advisors; £5,000 for moderately complex, such as Asset Managers; and £25,000 for complex, such as Banks.
After this initial set-up fee, there will be ongoing annual fees based on the complexity and volume of activities conducted. There will also be the one-off application fee.
How Long Does FCA Authorisation Last For?
An FCA Authorisation does not expire. However, your FCA Authorisation can be changed or removed if you fail to pay the yearly fees or operate within the regulatory guidelines. See also how to make sure your staff keep up with compliance.
How Can I Speed Up My FCA Authorisation Application?
The FCA needs candidates to demonstrate that at the point of approval, they will have appropriate systems and control frameworks that are appropriate to the size and nature of the activities being conducted.
As such, having prior experience with the FCA Authorisation process will likely give you an indication of what is required. An experienced compliance consultant can provide firm guidance to help you get approved more efficiently and quickly.
Are There Alternatives to FCA Authorisation?
An alternative to FCA Approval is working as a “Regulatory Host” under another established firm’s FCA umbrella and this can be approved in a matter of weeks.