Navigating FCA Regulation and Authorisation



Navigating the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) application, regulation, and compliance process can be a daunting process for start-ups and established businesses alike. Our team provides strategic, robust, and responsive administration services to help you navigate a challenging regulatory landscape.

COVID-19 and BREXIT have increased pressure on financial services firms to meet tough regulatory requirements without compromising profitability and service quality. Our experienced staff has the requisite knowledge and skills to provide effective regulatory support to all businesses operating in this highly regulated sector.

Our range of clients comprises brokerage firms, banks, insurance, market makers, authorised payment service providers, EMI (Electronic Money Institutions), proprietary trading firms, hedge fund managers, venture capital funds, and corporate finance advisers.

We have created an FCA guide to help you navigate the FCA regulation and authorisation process.




Frequently asked questions


Who needs to be FCA approved?

Any business that intends to carry out activities specified by the Regulated Activities Order 2001 or the Payment Services Regulations 2017 must obtain authorisation by the FCA (or be registered with). 

  • Wholesale Investment Firms
  • Money Institutions
  • Payment Service Institutions
  • Insurer/ Insurance Intermediaries
  • Banks / Building Societies / Mutual Societies

Generally, firms that deal in regulated activities such as accepting deposits, issuing e-money, dealing, managing of investments (as principle or agent) and/or safeguarding and administering investments or dealing in specific investments including deposits, shares, debt instruments options, futures and contracts for difference require authorisation unless they are excluded or exempt.

For more details:


How do I obtain FCA authorisation?

We have summarised the steps to obtain FCA authorisation.

Establish permission
  • We will assist you in determining the scope of permission depending upon the type of business that you want to do.
Audit and application management: 
  • Assist you in the preparation of a detailed Business Plan including setting out the planned activities, budget, and resources including robust cash flows, detailed systems and controls, and business continuity plans.
  • Determine the minimum regulatory capital & financial requirements.
  • Determine the necessary systems and controls to support the firm’s proposed activities and to ensure compliance with the relevant FCA rules.
  • Determine who will fall under the Approved Persons regime and assist with the application for carrying out controlled functions and for controllers who hold or control more than ten percent of the entity.
Submission of application and liaising: 
  • We will work closely with you to throughout the application process and you will benefit from a single point of contact. We will also assist in liaising with the FCA during the review process.  

For more details:


How long does it take to obtain FCA authorisation

The timelines for applying to the FCA and becoming registered are set out by the FCA. It’s not a speedy process and, depending on the level or authorisation you require, the whole procedure might take around 6-12 months. 




Why outsource your FCA application process?

We assist you with all the returns to FCA and the ongoing communication process, supporting transparent and open dialogue with the FCA.

We take care of your accounting and reporting requirements

The level of reporting that is required will vary, depending on the type of business you are.  Some payment service provider reporting will only be needed every six months, whereas large investment businesses will need more regular, detailed reporting. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to reporting requirements.

We help navigate a rapidly changing FCA regulatory landscape

If you are  new to FCA registration, you will need advice from a professional adviser who understands the FCA requirements. Whilst financial services are regulated by the FCA, banking and insurance companies are covered by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), a part of The Bank of England. If you are  involved in banking or insurance services in any way, then you’ll also need to be compliant with the PRA regulations.

We help you navigate FCA and CASS rules

Your business may also need a CASS (client asset) audit, as well as a statutory audit. So there are multiple considerations to think about as a financial services provider.  It is the/a Company’s responsibility to ensure compliance and accurate reporting to the FCA. You need to be thoroughly aware of your governance and compliance requirements although our specialist staff can help and support you.

Apart from the financials that will be reported to and reviewed by the FCA, some businesses would also need to report  on the different operational, business and liquidity risks including the company’s exposure,  to ensure that you meet the capital requirements. The level of the capital base, the availability of the capital base, liquidity management and the effectiveness of your internal and corporate governance will all be examined to some extent.

The primary focus is about protecting any client assets etc. that the business is managing and to make sure there are adequate funds and safeguards in place if the worst should happen.




We have 100% success in obtaining authorisation for our clients

Hawksford provides a rigorous, technical and dynamic administration service and are particularly well known for strength and expertise in the FCA sector.  We have a wealth of experience providing support and audit services for FCA regulated clients.

Our support is provided on a bespoke basis and includes assistance with:

  • Preparing your FCA application form
  • Reviewing and editing your responses
  • Reviewing and sign off on your systems and controls as part of the application requirements
  • Drafting the required documentation business plan, financial forecasts and profit and loss accounts
  • Liaising with FCA as the application progresses
  • Post authorisation support

Sector Specialism

Our specialist staff provides full audit, accounting, tax, compliance services with a focus and expertise in the following sectors:

  • Insurance Brokers
  • Electronic Money Institutions (EMI)/ Payment Service Providers
  • Investment Advisory Firms
  • Venture Capital Funds
  • Hedge Fund Managers
  • Corporate Finance Advisers
  • Market Makers
  • Banks
  • Brokerage Firms



Our FCA Experts

Hawksford has significant experience of acting for entities involved in the Financial Services industry, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).