Blog/ How To Check If a Firm Is Authorised
How To Check If a Firm Is Authorised
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Authorisation of the majority of financial service activities by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is mandatory in the UK.
The sale of automotive insurance is included within this category.
Consumers are able to access the register to check if a firm is authorised or not before entering into business with them, so it’s important that your firm is authorised. Here, we provide guidance on checking the register and furthermore how firms can become authorised.
What is an authorised firm?
An FCA authorised firm refers to a financial service firm within the UK which has been approved by the FCA and is subsequently regulated by the body and subject to their standards, demonstrating to consumers the firm’s services are legitimate. Consumer credit firms, investment firms, or other financial services providers (such as automotive dealerships selling car insurance) can all apply for authorisation.
Who authorises firms?
The FCA and the PRA (Prudential Regulatory Authority), a subsidiary of the Bank of England, are responsible for authorising firms. Firms submit an application online which the FCA will then assess, assign a case officer, and make a decision as to whether the firm should be authorised or not within six months, or twelve months for incomplete applications.
How to check if a firm is authorised
Consumers can consult the Financial Services Register to check whether a firm is authorised or not. For the qualification of individuals, the Directory Persons Data, now published on the Financial Services Register, can also be referred to.
Financial Services Register
The Financial Services Register, also known as the FS Register, contains an index of all FCA authorised firms involved with regulated activities. The Register can be consulted to check firms and individuals, contact details, their regulated activities, and consumer protections when engaging in business with them. The FCA recommends consumers check the register prior to engaging in business to ensure the firm or individual is regulated to undertake the service promised.
Directory Persons Data
The Directory Persons Data contains information regarding individuals undertaking regulated activities, including certified staff and directors, sole traders and Appointed Representatives (ARs). The Directory Persons data information is now published within the FS Register.
Obtaining data extracts
Data can be extracted from the FS Register; however, this additional service sits behind a paywall and must be purchased through the FCA’s Register Extract Service. To access data for free, you can alternatively download the FS Register API Developer Portal.
Unauthorised firms are also included in the register
Unauthorised firms are named on the FS Register alongside prominent warnings, making it clear for consumers to take heed of those who are unauthorised, found to be running scams, or claiming to be an FCA authorised firm if they are not.
How do I become an authorised representative?
An Appointed Representative (AR) is appointed by a Principal Firm. The Principal Firm is directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). To become authorised as an Appointed Representative, the Principal Firm will complete a process of due diligence on the AR. Once satisfied of their suitability, the Principal Firm can apply for authorisation on the AR online through Connect. The FCA is able to review applications through this portal.
To ensure you can complete your application and receive a prompt response from the FCA, leave enough time to prepare all the information required and submit the application in full.
Learn more about the process of becoming an authorised firm, or Appointed Representative, and the responsibilities involved.
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