Financial Services Authority (FSA) Authorisation Application Consultancy


Overview

The Financial Services Authority ('FSA') is the body which regulates investment business in the UK and, subject to certain very limited exemptions, any organisation wishing to establish the following operations:

  • investment advisory;
  • management;
  • trading;
  • fund placement / marketing;

in the UK will need to become authorised by the FSA before it can carry out any of these activities. It is an offence to carry out any of these activities without the proper authorisation.

The Authorisation Process

The authorisation process is the means by which the FSA assesses whether persons seeking to conduct investment business in the UK are:

  • 'fit and proper' so to do;
  • have adequate experience and investment knowledge;
  • have procedures and controls sufficient to protect both themselves and those with whom they conduct business;
  • meet minimum capital adequacy requirements.

The process is an exercise in filling in FSA forms and collating other relevant documentation to support your application and presenting this to the FSA. Although the FSA forms are in a prescribed format, structuring the information required by the FSA - it is not an obvious or intuitive process. Typically, if you are seeking authorisation you will appoint lawyers or regulatory consultants to complete the FSA application and to manage the application process through to completion on your behalf.

The FSA Application pack consists of a suite of standard forms for you to fill in for your organisation and also further forms for the individuals and 'controllers' in your organisation. These are detailed below.

  • checklist and declaration form;
  • core details form;
  • owners and influencers appendix;
  • controllers forms;
  • approved persons forms;
  • supplement form;

each form contains the following sections:

  • section 1 - regulatory business plan;
  • section 2 - scope of permission required;
  • section 3 - financial resources;
  • section 4 - personnel;
  • section 5 - compliance arrangements;
  • section 6 - fees and levies.

The process of applying for authorisation requires the proper completion and submission of these forms together with a variety of documents and other information.

The FSA is permitted by statute a maximum of six months to process a complete application and up to 12 months to process an incomplete application.

Typically, the FSA is taking no more than 3 - 4 months to process a complete application. Where this takes longer, it is usually for the following reasons:

  • the application has been poorly constructed, or is incomplete when submitted to the FSA;
  • the business proposal is complex and may not be readily understood or explained;
  • the applicant is considered 'high impact', for example, if initial funds under management is significant;
  • one of the controllers or key individuals may have an adverse regulatory history or similar issue;
  • the applicant has an association with a jurisdiction that is of 'concern' to the FSA which can include ownership, key individuals and customer base.

Service Offering

BCRM has substantial experience in assisting their Clients attain FSA authorisation.

Each application is personally handled by an experienced compliance expert, with regulatory and industry experience, ensuring that it is handled professionally with the resource and dedication required.

We pride ourselves in being able to offer a first class service at a fraction of the cost of our competitors. Whether you require assistance with:

  • writing a business plan;

  • preparation of financial projections;

  • compliance procedures;

  • management of the full application from start to finish;

Following submission of the application to the FSA we will maintain a close relationship with the relevant case officer at the FSA to ensure that the application is approved as quickly as possible and that any issues that may affect a timely decision are dealt with promptly.

Some of the services we offer are:

  • initial pre-authorisation training for 'high level management';
  • Initial risk assessment;
  • practitioner advice on permissions required;
  • advice on business plans and business planning;
  • advice on internal organisation structures;
  • advice on corporate governance;
  • advice on systems and control;
  • advice on individual approval;
  • preparing documentation;
  • completing your application;
  • project managing your application;
  • liaising with your other advisers;
  • implementing systems and controls;
  • preparing a compliance manual;
  • compliance monitoring;
  • compliance reviews;
  • compliance outsourcing
  • training.

To date, BCRM has a 100% success rate with all FSA applications it has completed.

So, if you want to obtain FSA authorisation in a timely manner, for a fraction of the cost of our competitors, then we can help

Approach

The BCRM approach for obtaining FSA authorisation covers:

  • defining the scope of your application for FSA authorisation;

  • understanding the business;

  • determining and agreeing relevant legislation and regulations applicable for the jurisdictions within the scope;

  • performing initial risk assessments for the scope;

  • advising on authorisation issues;

  • helping you complete the FSA application forms;

  • ensuring the applications forms are complete;

  • project managing your application;

  • establishing the FSA required processes, procedures and your compliance manual ;

  • embedding the FSA processes, procedures and compliance manual in your business;

  • compliance auditing;

  • provide FSA training, as appropriate;

  • liaison with relevant stakeholders, including your FSA case officer.

Benefits

The benefits of implementing BCRM's FSA authorisation processes are that it:

  • demonstrates your commitment to the FSA and its legislation and regulation;
  • demonstrates your legal and regulatory compliance;
  • enhances your customer's trust in you;
  • lowers the risks of FSA breaches occurring and ensuing action;
  • makes it easier for your new employees 'get up to speed' by following documented procedures;
  • produces well defined and documented procedures to address FSA related issues requirements;
  • provides a framework for managing and continually improving your AML processes and procedures;
  • uses experienced compliance professionals to project manage all of your application processes;

Next Steps

  • BCRM has a number of other service offering, these are listed here;
  • BCRM is committed to providing a consistently high value service to our Clients;
  • Sian Watson, who remains personally 'hands-on' throughout the process, manages this process.
  • to understand how the BCRM suite of offerings can be used to transform your business, please contact us
  • we look forward to discussing your specific requirements, at your convenience;
  • whatever other type of consultancy you require, we can possibly offer a free Health Check.