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Overview

Firms and individuals must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to carry out regulated financial service activities and offer credit to consumers.

Regulated financial activities

Regulated activities relate to investments specified by the Treasury or to property, and include:

  • dealing with investments (buying, selling etc) or offering or agreeing to do so, and in the case of insurance contracts, carrying out the contract
  • arranging investment deals
  • accepting deposits
  • asset administration and safekeeping
  • investment management and advising on investments
  • creating, running or winding up collective investment schemes
  • computer or web-based investment transactions
  • dealing in securities - eg stocks and shares (or certificates representing them), or options and futures
  • dealing with debentures, bonds, loan stock etc, including government bonds
  • collective investment scheme units
  • dealing with insurance contracts
  • Lloyd’s syndicates
  • loans secured on land and other arrangements involving land

Read a full list of regulated activities and exemptions.

Consumer credit

Consumer credit activities include:

  • selling on credit
  • hiring or leasing out goods for more than 3 months
  • lending money
  • issuing credit cards or trading checks
  • arranging credit for others
  • offering hire purchase terms
  • collecting debts
  • helping people with debt problems or advising on credit standing

How to apply

You’ll need to apply to FCA and meet the conditions for your type of business.

Read more about preparing for authorisation if you’re applying to offer consumer credit.

The authorisation fee you pay depends on how complex your application is to process.

Fines and penalties

You can be imprisoned and fined if you carry out regulated activities without being authorised.