FAQs

The Government believes that the FCA will be better equipped to tackle consumer detriment and malpractice with stronger powers and resources to protect consumers and promote effective competition in the consumer credit market. It will be able to respond more quickly and flexibly to market changes, ensuring that regulation can keep pace with this diverse and innovative market.

Firms must be authorised by the FCA to offer consumer credit. If you are not authorised and are offering finance or credit, you are breaking the law.

While this is a complex area, the basic principle is that if finance or credit is the primary business activity then full permission is required. This may refer to credit brokers or consumer credit lenders. 

If offering finance or credit is a secondary activity, where the main business is selling goods or services, then limited permission is applicable. This could include, for example, car dealerships offering finance options to customers.

These definitions are by no means comprehensive - speak to a member of our team for more information.

The official FCA line is that authorisation can take between 3 to 6 months. However, in our experience this varies depending on the nature and complexity of your business. We've typically seen authorisation take between 2 weeks and 2 months for limited permissions firms, while full permissions applications can be between 3 months and 9 months.

 

The cost will vary depending on the size and nature of your business, whether you require limited or full permissions, and the complexity of your application. Please call our free Authorisation Helpline on 0808 124 0010 for more information.

Please refer to the Responsiblities section for an overview of what's expected by the FCA. 

In broad terms, an appointed representative is a business which is not authorised, but which has a contract with a firm (called 'the principal') that allows it to carry on certain activities under the permission of the principal.

  • A business cannot be an appointed representative for a regulated activity if:
  • it does not have a contract with a principal firm which allows or requires it to carry on business
  • its principal firm has not accepted responsibility in writing for the regulated activity the business undertakes in
  • the firm that the business wants to act as its principal only holds an interim permission for the relevant credit activity
  • it operates a credit reference agency
  • it provides credit (unless the credit is free of interest and any other charges)
  • it is authorised for another activity.

However, the exceptions to this are:

  • a firm with an interim permission for a credit activity may also be an appointed representative for a FSMA regulated activity that is not covered by its interim permission
  • a firm with a limited permission for certain credit activities will be able to be an appointed representative for other regulated activities. E.g. a motor dealer with a limited permission to carry on credit broking can also be an appointed representative insurance intermediary.

The FCA and the Government will consult on the longer term regime for second charge mortgages once there is greater clarity on the outcome of the Mortgage Credit Directive. This will determine what the process will be for authorisation for second charge firms. Second charge firms should still register for interim permission under the consumer credit regime, and new entrants to the second charge market from April 2014 (who do not hold a CCA licence and cannot get an interim permission) will need to apply for full consumer credit permission.

All the details of what you need to do to check the register are on the FCA website. You should have your FCA licence number to hand - this will make it easier to find your details on the register.

The forms required for full authorisation will be available on the FCA website. Firms that have interim authorisation will be notified by the regulator when they need to apply for full authorisation in due course.

It is important to check that your details on the public register are correct. If you don't have the right categories covered and you conduct business in those categories, you risk acting illegally.

Unfortunately there's no short answer - the information you need to display on your website will vary depending upon the business you conduct. Get in touch with our team for more information. 

If your FCA licence information is not correct, please contact them via the website www.fca.org.uk .

You can amend your details via the FCA website. There is no charge for this and it should take less than five minutes.

At the time of the changeover from OFT to FCA, the FCA granted all transferring companies interim permissions under which they could operate taking into account the new rules and regulations.  At that time you will have also been given a window of three months by which it would want to receive your completed application. If you didn’t apply within that window, your application is classed as lapsed.  Your interim permission is immediately withdrawn and you have no permissions to carry out regulated business.