Providers of financial services, investment firms and consumer credit companies in the UK have to be authorised by UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The likes of banks, credit unions and insurance companies are all regulated by the FCA and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority.
According to the provisions made under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000, these firms need to secure authorisation from the FCA in order to operate. Securing authorisation tends to take about six months, but can take up to a year. Different types of companies have different application processes in order to secure authorisation.
Once authorised, firms must pay an annual fee and ensure they constantly meet the minimum standards set by regulators. Many choose to appoint another company or individual as an ‘appointed representative’, which takes on full responsibility for ensuring the authorised business is compliant.