The FCA and indeed the PRA are the gatekeepers for firms that need to enter the financial services sector and their brief is to make sure that all firms that achieve authorisation match or exceed the threshold conditions and firms that cannot achieve this are declined. The regulators need to be confident that these standards can and will be maintained.
All firms that are engaged in regulated activities need to be authorised by the PRA and FCA (dual authorisation) or regulated by the FCA only for conduct purposes or exemption.
The transfer of authority from the FSA to FCA did bring about a much more interventionist regime and although you need not expect an armed group of men and women charging through your door you can and should be prepared for intervention at any time.
All authorised firms need to keep up to date with regulatory news and changes to guidance and rules. In theory this is a full time job.
The Broadgate update service emails you a brief synopsis of that which you need to be aware of plus the source for further information.
The vast majority of firms need to be capable of establishing a harmonious and remote relationship with the FCA and providing that they can evidence their compliant behaviour using an accurate and timely Retail Mediation Activity Return (RMAR), this objective should be achieved.
The FCA’s application process is very robust and they do require firms to have the requisite knowledge, skills and experience before they are granted Permissions. In many cases the firms have the ability but cannot prove a track record of either their Compliance Officer, Money Laundering Reporting Officer or sometimes the advisory roles so our Team of Consultants can be of service to bridge these gaps.