EEA Firms: Eight Step Authorisation Process

  • Posted on: 14 April 2021
  • Written by: James Borley

Offering Financial Services in the UK Series

Compliancy Services' guide 'Offering Financial Services In The UK' has been published to help European Economic Area (EEA) firms that want to access the UK market understand the process to become authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and for some firms, such as banks and insurance companies, additionally the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). 

This series of four articles are as relevant to firms in the FCA's Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR) as they are to EEA firms that want to access the UK market for the first time, or those firms which inadvertently missed the TPR deadline and are now in the Supervised Run-Off Framework.

In this article we detail the eight application steps that firms should follow. Each step has a number of elements and improving your knowledge of the whole process and what the regulator is seeking at each stage will, in overall terms, help you complete your application. The article is an extract from our 'Step-By-Step Guide To Obtaining Authorisation' which has been specifically published for EEA firms and can be downloaded now, free of charge.

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AN EIGHT STEP PROCESS

There are eight application steps for EEA firms. It’s important that firms submit an articulate and complete application to the FCA (and, if dual-regulated, to the PRA) at the first time of asking, to ensure a smooth approval process and to build a strong relationship with the regulator(s). There are many elements to the application, so it’s important to ensure your whole firm is engaged in the process.

  1. Decide if a UK presence is viable. Will your firm’s UK operation – or planned operation – meet its strategic objectives under the regulatory regime? If yes, the firm should proceed with an application.

  2. Decide if a UK permission is necessary. If you are conducting business with UK customers solely on a cross-border services basis, e.g. over the internet from your home state jurisdiction, you may not actually need to be authorised. If you are unsure, obtain advice.

  3. Consider the branch or subsidiary question. If your firm is seeking to establish a presence in the UK, or it already has a branch here, you should nevertheless consider whether an application by a subsidiary is more likely to be acceptable to the FCA.

  4. Determine required permissions. Your firm needs to be sure about the activities it wants to conduct in the UK, that it will be applying for permission to operate for all those UK activities which require authorisation, and that it identifies the relevant UK regulations e.g. FSMA, PSRs and EMRs.

  5. Identify resources needed. What human and information resources are needed to complete the application? Prepare a project plan.

  6. Ensure your firm meets the regulator's expectations. Is your firm “ready, willing, and organised”, and does it meet the FCA’s 'minimum standards?' If not, when is it likely to do so?

  7. Complete the application. Does your application contain all of the information the FCA will want and expect to see? Is
    it clear and concise? Does it address any potential concerns the FCA may have?

  8. Submit the application. Send the FCA your application via the Connect portal and pay the application fee. Be ready to provide any additional information to the FCA it may require. Be ready to provide to the FCA any additional information it may require.

ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Applying for regulatory permission is a big step for branches and subsidiaries of EEA firms. Firms need to understand the application process and what information the regulators are asking for, as well as the impact that those demands, and the impact that operating under a new status will have on their business goals and day-to-day operations.

Our guide provides answers to some of the fundamental questions that firms will have as they set out on this journey. The hope is that the guide will enable EEA firms to better understand the application process, and help foster dialogue about how to proceed. Download our free guide today.

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