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Becoming FCA Licensed.

Assisting financial services firms

Becoming FCA Licensed

Assisting financial services firms through the authorisation process and beyond

If you are planning or undertaking regulated activity, you will need authorisation to do so from the Regulator. The authorisation process requires you to demonstrate to the FCA that all aspects of your business are up to their required standards. Items the FCA will be looking at closely include the activities you wish to undertake, your client base, key employees and the ownership structure of your business.

ESMA Compliance Consultants assists many firms each year to become authorised: we understand what the regulator expects from an application and help our clients to meet and demonstrate those standards.

Our experience in preparing firms for authorisation is extensive. The types of firms we have assisted include:

  • FX/CFD/Derivatives market makers, matched principal firms
  • Fund managers including property managers
  • Broking firms
  • Corporate finance firms
  • Lenders
  • Insurance firms

ESMA Compliance Consultant’s authorisation services

Advice and Scoping
  • Assessing whether authorisation is the right route for you
  • Assisting you in confirming the regulated activities you wish to undertake
  • Advising on the impact of activities on capital requirements and regulatory obligations
  • Identifying risk areas and helping you to mitigate these
Application Pack
  • Identifying and preparing forms required for your application
  • Assisting you in preparing associated documents
Regulatory business plan
  • Reviewing your proposed plan and identifying gaps or risk areas
  • Enhancing your business plan to meet the Regulator’s expectations
  • Assisting you in communicating your plan correctly
Financial Projections
  • Assisting in the preparation and presentation of financial projections
  • Documenting how you will meet the initial and ongoing capital requirements
Employees and owners
  • Guiding individuals on presenting themselves as appropriate for their proposed role
  • Detailing ownership structure and assisting relevant persons to prepare Controller forms
  • Helping you to deal with any follow-up queries from the FCA
Compliance framework
  • Developing tailored compliance procedures to support your regulated activities
  • Providing a monitoring plan for ongoing compliance checks
  • Firm-wide training to prepare staff for the new obligations on them and the company
  • Compliance officer, money laundering reporting office and board member training

We tailor our service to each client’s needs, supporting you, as you require.

What is the FCA looking for?

The authorisation process is used to ensure that firms meet the threshold conditions:

Business model

The proposed business model complies with the FCA rules and objectives


The firm is seen as generally suitable posing low risk of misconduct, financial crime and non- cooperation

Effective supervision

The FCA must be satisfied that a firm can be effectively supervised

Appropriate resources

The quality and quantity of resources available including financial and human resources

Most Common Questions

How long does it take?

The length of time varies but currently firms should allow 6 to 9 months for the process including preparation and submission of the application pack, allocation to a case officer, FCA review of the application and dealing with enquiries from FCA.

How should my firm prepare?

Having a clear idea of your firms business plan in the short to medium term is invaluable. The likely business lines, target client base and geographical reach will affect everything from deciding the permissions you will need, identifying your key risk areas and collating the right application documents.

How likely is that the FCA refuse my firms application?

We have not had any applications we are involved in refused to date.

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