Types of FCA Authorisation & Who Needs Them

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is one of a few bodies that regulate the financial services sector, including insurers and insurance brokers.

You need FCA authorisation if you want to provide most types of financial services in the UK. When you register for FCA approval, you’ll have a choice between applying for “full” or “limited” permission.

In this post we’ll discuss the different types of FCA authorisation, and the sort of activities they apply to. This way, you can ensure you apply for the most appropriate type of FCA authorisation for your business.

You need FCA authorisation if you want to provide financial services in the UK

Do I Need Full Permission or Limited FCA Permission?

The type of FCA authorisation you need – limited or full – will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of activities your business carries out. Generally speaking, if you’re offering certain financial services as a secondary business activity, then you’ll need limited FCA permission. But if financial services are your primary business activity, then you’ll need full permission.

How to Apply for Full or Limited FCA Permission?

Getting limited permission is generally quicker and cheaper than getting full permission, though you’ll still have to go through a formal application process. And following your approval, you’ll still have to prove your ongoing compliance with the FCA’s regulatory toolkit.

Applying for full permission is a lot more complicated. As part of your application, you’ll have to supply a comprehensive business plan detailing your firm’s ongoing activities, along with information about your trading history and your future plans. You’ll also have to detail your financial details, systems, controls, and more.

Read our full guide to registering for FCA approval.

What Activities Require Limited FCA Permission?

  • Consumer hire – such as tool hire and car hire services.
  • Not-for-profit services – including debt counselling, debt adjusting, and credit information services.
  • Credit broking services – but only when credit broking is a secondary business activity, and your main business activity is to sell non-financial goods or services. For example, retailers may introduce customers to a finance provider as part of their instore credit arrangements.
  • Consumer credit lending – but again, only when this is a secondary business activity, and your main business activity is to sell non-financial goods or services. For example, a gym might allow for deferred membership payments for new members.

What Activities Require Full FCA Permission?

  • Debt services – including debt administration and collection, and debt counselling and adjusting when it’s carried out on a commercial basis rather than a not-for-profit basis.
  • Credit services – including credit broking or lending as a main business activity, or where the sale takes place in the customer’s home and providing credit information services and credit reference agency services.
  • Lending – including electronic peer-to-peer lending, and lending in relation to personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts, hire purchases, conditional sale arrangements, and pawnbroking.
  • Claims management services – including seeking out or identifying claims, and offering advice, investigation, or representation in relation to claims.
  • Investment services – including advising on investments, arranging deals in investments, and managing investments.
  • Insurance services – including effecting and carrying out contracts of insurance, insurance distribution services, and insurance brokering services.

More Information About FCA Approval

For the full FCA guidance on permission types, read the FCA’s official Perimeter Guidance document.

You’ll also find numerous resources on our site regarding your regulatory responsibilities as an insurance firm:

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If you have any questions, or you’d like to discuss your options, you can contact the Tapoly team at info@tapoly.com, call our info line on +44(0)207 846 0180, or use the chat box on our website.