Industry sector: Business services

IFA: Licences

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services sector. Any firm engaging in regulated activities must be either directly authorised by the FCA or an appointed representative (AR) of a directly authorised company or IFA network. The FCA authorises firms by granting them permission to carry on regulated activities and approves individuals within those firms to carry out controlled functions. They set standards for the firms they regulate and make sure that these firms comply with the rules and regulations, which are set out in the FCA Handbook. All authorised firms are listed on the FCA Register.

You will need to hold a Statement of Professional Standing, renewed annually, which confirms that you are properly qualified and authorised.

You will additionally need to notify the FCA if you act as a money service business or a trust or company service provider.

You should also be aware that businesses which keep computerised records of individuals' personal details may be required to register as data users with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).