You know that financial services is a sector that is highly regulated.  So starting a financial services business will require some form of "licensing" before you can start trading or expanding (if you already regulated).  

In the UK you will either be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), or both.  Majority of the firms are regulated by the FCA, and this is likely to be your starting point if you are a peer to peer lender, crowdfunding platform or any other type of Fintech or alternative finance firm.

 

 

 

 

The FCA Authorisation process is deliberately designed to be tough, ensuring that only competent and well run firms get through the regulatory gateway firms.  The process is long, taking up to one year to get authorised, and you have to be ready to trade at the point of applying. 

A huge challenge, understandably.  Not only do you have to commit resources to preparing, you also face an uncertain while you await FCA's decision.  You can however get some level of certainty through knowledge of the rules and process and thorough preparation!

 

We've put together a FREE Resource Library to Help you Prepare 

Access these three practical and proven checklists in your member library and use them to dramatically increase your chances of a successful FCA authorisation in the quickest possible time.

 

Getting licensed by a regulator brings trust and credibility to you.  It opens up a bigger portion of the market giving you an opportunity to win over a sizable market share.

However, the process of applying for a regulatory license is not just a form filling exercise.  It requires an understanding of the regulatory and their expectations as well as proper planning.

We've developed a guide that will help you through this process.  It covers:

  • Benefits of being regulated
  • 7 Common mistakes firms make when applying for a license
  • The criteria by which the regulator judge your application and how you can win by giving them what they want
  • A 5 step SMART model that will get your through the process successfully. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Need more help?  We've answered some of the question you will undoubtedly have.

Q: Do we need to be regulated?
 
Most financial services businesses are regulated, and there are no exceptions for Fintech based firms.  However, some types of businesses are excluded from regulation and other can benefit from regulatory exemptions, as long as they meet certain criteria.  The FCA puts the onus on you to determine whether you should be regulated or not.  Take advice if required.
 
Q:  How long will it take to get authorised ?
 
If the application is well prepared, the FCA is statutorily bound to give you an answer within 6 months of the date of application.  However, for a less well prepared application, they have up to 12 months to decide.
 
Q: How long will it take to prepare the application?
 
This will depend on where you are starting from and what resources you have available.  However, based on our experience, allow at least two months, on average, to prepare for a thorough application.  In this way, you have a better chance of being authorised within the 6 month window. 
 
Q: I know we need to be regulated, but is there a quicker way into the market?
 
The simple answer is Yes.  You can start out as quickly as possible running a business that is excluded from regulation or benefit from certain regulatory exemption.  This is a good way to transition into a regulated business. The other option is to become an Appointed Representative, operating under someone else' "License".
 
Q:  How ready must the business be before I can apply?
 
The FCA expects the business to be sufficiently ready to start trading at the point of authorisation.  So you will need to have everything place.  This will also make the FCA's job easier and get you through the process quicker.  The FCA are considering exceptions for innovative Fintech businesses, however. 
 
Q: How can we guarantee a successful FCA application for authorisation?
 
It goes without saying that preparing well is the key to success.  A well prepared application will help you meet the FCA's requirements and answer all of their questions.  Test beforehand, whether you will meet FCA's requirements, against which they will assess you. 
 

No doubt you still have more questions on your mind.

By registering for the free FCA Authorisation Resource Library, you also get your specific questions answered. Only logged in members have access to these answers.

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