The Principles



A firm must conduct its business with integrity.


A firm must conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence.


A firm must take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems.


A firm must maintain adequate financial resources.


A firm must observe proper standards of market conduct.


A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.


A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information to them in a way, which is clear, fair and not misleading.


A firm must manage conflicts of interests fairly, both between itself and its customers and between a customer and another client.


A firm must take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of its advice and discretionary decisions for any customer who is entitled to rely upon its judgment.


A firm must arrange adequate protection for clients' assets when it is responsible for them.


A firm must deal with its regulators in an open and cooperative way, and must disclose to the FSA appropriately anything relating to the firm of which the FSA would reasonably expect notice.






The Full Handbook


The most efficient method of browsing the FSA Handbook content is to use the table of contents below.  The table of contents will expand as you select chapters and sections of that module. To close the table of contents click on the section, chapter, module or block name.




Reference Code


terms used in the Handbook


the meaning of defined terms used in the Handbook


High Level Standards

the standards applying to all firms and approved persons

Principles for Businesses

the fundamental obligations of all firms under the regulatory system


Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls

the responsibilities of directors and senior management


Threshold Conditions

the minimum standards for becoming and remaining authorised


Statements of Principle and Code of Practice for Approved Persons

the fundamental obligations of approved persons


The Fit and Proper test for Approved Persons

the minimum standards for becoming and remaining an approved person


General Provisions

interpreting the Handbook, fees, approval by the FSA, emergencies, status disclosure, the FSA logo and insurance against fines


Prudential Standards

integrated and interim prudential standards

Integrated Prudential sourcebook

prudential requirements for insurers, groups, mortgage firms and insurance intermediaries and, in relation to liquidity risk, for banks, building societies and own account dealers


Interim Prudential sourcebook for Banks

the prudential and notification requirements for banks


Interim Prudential sourcebook for Building Societies

the prudential and notification requirements for building societies


Interim Prudential sourcebook for Friendly Societies

the prudential and notification requirements for friendly societies


Interim Prudential sourcebook for Insurers

the residual prudential and notification requirements for insurers


Interim Prudential sourcebook for Investment Businesses

the prudential and notification requirements for investment firms


Business Standards

the detailed requirements relating to firms' day-to-day business

Conduct of Business

the requirements applying to firms with investment business customers


Insurance: Conduct of Business

the requirements applying to firms with insurance business customers


Mortgages: Conduct of Business

the requirements applying to firms with mortgage business customers


Client Assets

the requirements relating to holding client assets and client money


Market Conduct

Code of Market Conduct, Price stabilising rules, Inter-professional conduct, Endorsement of the Takeover Code, Alternative Trading Systems, what is acceptable market conduct and what is market abuse


Training and Competence

the commitments and requirements concerning staff competence


Money Laundering

the requirements for anti-money laundering systems and controls


Regulatory Processes

the manuals describing the operation of the FSA's authorisation, supervisory and disciplinary functions


guidance on whether authorisation is needed, how to apply for it and related issues



supervisory provisions including those relating to auditors, waivers, individual guidance, notifications and reporting



details of the FSA's disciplinary and enforcement arrangements


Decision Making

the FSA's decision-making processes



the processes for handling complaints and compensation

Dispute Resolution: Complaints

the detailed requirements for handling complaints and the Financial Ombudsman Service arrangements



the rules governing eligibility under, and levies for, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme


Complaints against the FSA

details of the scheme for handling complaints against the FSA


Specialist sourcebooks

requirements applying to individual business sectors

Collective Investment Schemes

requirements for collective investment schemes


New Collective Investment Schemes

the special requirements for collective investment schemes (to replace CIS)


Credit Unions

requirements applying to credit unions


Electronic Commerce Directive

requirements for firms providing financial services by electronic means


Electronic Money

requirements for firms issuing electronic money



requirements applying to Lloyd's and members of Lloyd's


Professional Firms

requirements applying to professional firms (whether exempt or authorised)


Recognised Investment Exchanges and Recognised Clearing Houses

requirements applying to recognised bodies


Listing, Prospectus and Disclosure

United Kingdom Listing Authority rules

Listing Rules

United Kingdom Listing Authority listing rules


Prospectus Rules

United Kingdom Listing Authority prospectus rules


Disclosure Rules

United Kingdom Listing Authority disclosure rules


Handbook Guides

This section contains guides to the Handbook. They are aimed at giving a basic overview of certain topics and point firms in the direction of material in the Handbook applicable to them.

Energy Market Participants

Energy Market Participants Guide


Small Friendly Societies

(See FREN instruments for various in force dates). Prudential requirements for insurers, groups, mortgage firms and insurance intermediaries


Oil Market Participants

Guide for Oil Market Participants


Service companies

Guide for service companies


Using the FSA Handbook: an Overview for small IFA firms

Guide to using the FSA Handbook: an Overview for small IFA firms; (SIFA is being updated. Please see What's New for the most up to date version)


Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part I - General Rules

Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part I - General Rules


Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part II - Mortgage Intermediaries (additional rules)

Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part II - Mortgage Intermediaries (additional rules)


Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part III - Insurance Intermediaries (additional rules)

Small Mortgage and Insurance Intermediaries: Part III - Insurance Intermediaries (additional rules)


Regulatory Guides

These are guides to regulatory topics

The Collective Investment Scheme Information Guide

The Collective Investment Scheme Information Guide


The Perimeter Guidance Manual

Perimeter Guidance









To apply to become directly authorised by the FSA a firm needs to submit an application to us for a Part IV Permission. The FSA will assess the application against the Threshold Conditions and advise the firm of the decision.



Before Applying

Threshold Conditions:


Applications are assessed against the Threshold Conditions.  Applicants should review these carefully before applying to ensure that they meet these criteria.


For example, two of the Threshold Conditions are 'adequate resources' and 'suitability'. These conditions are only likely to be satisfied if you can demonstrate previous experience in the type of business for which you are applying. For a small IFA firm we would generally expect that at least one of the members of the governing body has at least three years in the financial services industry, with at least one of these years in the independent sector.


Applicants applying for certain controlled functions should also have appropriate qualifications. For example, the Financial Planning Certificate is an appropriate approved qualification for IFAs. There are a number of other appropriate approved qualifications.  Details of these qualifications can be obtained from the Financial Services Skills Council (020 7216 7366).


For details of qualification requirements please refer to the ‘Training and Competence’ sourcebook in the FSA Handbook.


Pre-application meetings


Normally the FSA would only hold pre-application meetings with potential applicants where the business concerned is complex or unusual.  Simpler businesses should not require such meetings and any pre application issues can be resolved by telephone or correspondence.


Further Assistance:


Queries relating to whether a firm needs to be authorised should be directed to Consumer Contact Centre on 0845 606 1234 (call rates may vary) or email


Application Packs


Types of application pack:


There are a number of different types of application pack. Which one you use depends upon the type of business you plan to undertake, and what type of legal entity you intend trading as. These packs are:


  • Small Firms Application Pack (Part IV Permission)

  • Sole Trader Application Pack (Part IV Permission)

  • Simple Change of Entity Application Pack (Part IV Permission)

  • Credit Union Application Pack (Registration and Part IV Permission)

  • General Insurance Firm Intermediary Application Pack (Part IV Permission)

  • Securities and Futures Small Firm Application Pack (Part IV Permission)

  • The standard Application Pack (Part IV Permission)


The Small Firms Application Pack (Part IV Permission) is specifically tailored to smaller firms. This pack is focused at small firms wishing to conduct typical IFA business only, typical IFA business together with mortgage and/or general insurance business, mortgage business only, or mortgage and general insurance business only.


The Sole Trader Application Pack (Part IV Permission) is specifically tailored to sole traders with no other approved persons. It is for sole traders wishing to carry out IFA business, IFA business with mortgage and/or general insurance business, mortgage business only, or mortgage and general insurance business only. Sole traders with approved persons should use the Small Firms Pack (Part IV Permission).


An existing authorised firm wishing to change its legal status only may qualify to use the Change of Legal Status Application Pack. This pack enables the existing authorised firm to cancel its permission at the same time as the applicant applies for authorisation.

We recognise the volunteer nature of credit union personnel and the very limited nature of the range of activities undertaken - so those applicants wishing to be authorised as a credit union should apply using the separate Credit Union Application Pack. This includes the registration element of the process.


The General Insurance Intermediary Firm Application Pack is specifically tailored to general insurance firms who want to apply only to do general insurance business.


The Securities and Futures Small Firm Application Pack is specifically tailored to small securities and futures firms who want to apply only to advise and/or arrange in relation to Securities, Derivatives, Corporate finance business or to deal as a local.


Any applicant that does not qualify to use the Small Firms, Sole Trader, Credit Union, General Insurance or Simple Change of Entity Application Packs should use the standard pack, referred to as the Application Pack (Part IV Permission).


All applicants are assessed proportionately and fairly regardless of which pack they use.

The Authorisation cases bulletins can be used as a reference on interesting cases, queries and points of information related to applications.



Obtaining a pack:


More detail on the packs and downloadable versions can be obtained by following the links to the appropriate pack's web page.  Paper versions are available by contacting the Publications helpline on 0845 608 2372.  Copies of the standard pack are available by contacting the Authorisation helpline (020 7066 3954).


If you have ordered an application pack but it has not arrived, please telephone the publications helpline (0845 608 2372).


Completing the application pack


Before completing an application pack you should read the section entitled ‘Application Pack – Notes’. Not all parts of the pack will be relevant to your business, therefore it is important that you read the notes to help you to work out which are (and those which are not) and the amount of detail required for your application.


You may also need to refer to parts of the FSA Handbook . In particular you may wish to refer to ‘Authorisation’ (the authorisation manual).


Please complete the application to the best of your ability and make sure that any relevant attachments (listed at the back of each form) are enclosed. Failure to do so will result in your application being considered incomplete



Controlled Functions:


Information on which controlled functions a firm will need can be found in Chapter 10 of the Supervision manual (SUP 10) in the FSA Handbook. This provides information on all controlled functions. You would need to select which controlled functions are appropriate for your firm.  The process by which applications may be made for the approval of persons to conduct controlled functions are explained in Approved Persons.



Prudential Category:


The notes to each application pack under core details give guidance on this. Most small IFAs are likely to be in the prudential category of ‘personal investment firm’ and the subcategory of ‘low resource firm’ but you will need to check the notes to confirm this is correct for your business.


Permission Profile:


The Small Firm, Sole Trader and General Insurance Intermediary application packs contain pro-forma business profiles.


In the standard Application Pack you will need to list each regulated activity you wish to apply for, the specified investments for each activity, limitations (if applicable), requirements (if applicable) and customer types. You will need to refer to Chapter 2 of the Authorisation Manual (part of the FSA Handbook) for the regulated activities and investment types that you can apply for. The permission profile will need to be in the wording given in Annex 2 to Chapter 2 of the Authorisation Manual.



Other Information Requirements:


The information required from each firm varies according to the firm type and the  application pack being used. For details of the required information and forms to complete please consult the notes attached to your application pack.



Further Assistance:


Queries relating to completion of the application packs should be directed to the Authorisation and Enquiries Helpline, 020 7066 3954




Authorisation Fee:


Authorisation fee is a one-off fee to enable us to process the application. The amount will depend on whether the application is straightforward (£1500), moderately complex (£5000) or complex (£25000). Most independent financial advisers, mortgage brokers and general insurance intermediaries will be straightforward applications.


The authorisation fee


The amount of the appropriate authorisation fee is in part 1 of Chapter 4 Annex 1R of the Authorisation Manual (part of the FSA Handbook).


To apply for authorisation, you must send the relevant authorisation fee, without any deductions (by banker’s draft, cheque or other payable order), with the application form. No work will be done on processing your application form until the full fee is received.


This authorisation fee is not refundable so you need to be sure that you wish to go ahead with the application before applying.



Sending  the application:


Please send the application, with the appropriate fee, to:

Authorisation Department
Financial Services Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 5HS


Processing Times:


This depends on the nature of the application and how quickly we can get the relevant information from the applicant and third parties. The FSA’s published service standard in respect of applications for authorisation states that the FSA aims to determine 70% of applications within 16 weeks.


Further information on the statutory timescales can be found in 3.9.30 of the Authorisation Manual (this can be found in the FSA Handbook).






Shortly after you have sent us your application, you will receive an acknowledgement. Soon after this you will receive a letter consisting of an initial assessment of the application and the name of the case officer who will be your contact during the application process.


If the application is incomplete, this will be stated in the initial assessment letter. That letter will also say what is required to make the application complete, so that the shorter 6 month statutory deadline for its determination applies.





Applications are assessed to ensure that the firm satisfies the necessary threshold conditions (in relation to status, location, close links, adequacy of resources and suitability) before we can give permission to carry on a regulated activity. Similarly we must be satisfied that persons applying to carry on controlled functions are fit and proper (that is, they meet honesty, competence and financial soundness criteria).


The case officer will request any clarification or further documentation from you. Once that person has enough information to assess whether or not the applicant satisfies the Threshold Conditions, the application will be determined.





Successful applications will be sent an authorisation letter, which contains details of any conditions the authorisation is subject to, the scope of the firm's permission, and a list of the persons approved for controlled functions.

Following authorisation, these details will appear on the FSA Register.





If the FSA is minded to refuse an application then it must give the applicant a warning notice in writing, stating the reasons for the proposed refusal and giving the applicant the opportunity to make representations.  The FSA will then consider any such representations before issuing a decision notice giving its decision.  Following the issue of a decision notice, it is open to an applicant to refer the matter for consideration by the Financial Services & Markets Tribunal.



Queries and changes:


If you have any queries or changes to make during the application process, please contact your nominated case officer.


We now have statutory deadlines by which we must determine applications, so we are unable to defer applications and expect prompt answers from applicants. However, you do have the option of withdrawing your application and re applying at a later date. If, having submitted your application, it becomes clear you will need to delay the date you wish to be authorised, please contact your case officer to discuss what your best course of action is.



Post Authorisation

Annual Fees:


Once a firm has been authorised, there are ongoing fees that have to be paid on annual basis. These vary depending on the type of business the firm undertakes and the number of relevant approved persons. There is comprehensive guidance on fees on the FSA's website.


These are paid on an annual basis once the applicant has been given Part IV Permission and, like the application fee, vary depending on the nature of the business and number of relevant approved persons. The annual fees are in Annex 1 to Chapter 20 of the Supervision Manual (in the FSA Handbook), and comprehensive guidance on fees on the FSA's website.


For more information on the Annual Fee please ring 020 7066 1000 and ask for the Fees Helpline.








Marine & Boat Insurance Providers Table



Type of Insurance


24 hour dinghy insurance

Dinghy & Sailboard Insurance Immediate insurance premiums displayed by clicking onto the class of craft.

24 hour dinghy insurance


We've teamed up with to provide our clients with a competitive online marine quote: DINGHY, SPEED BOAT, SMALL YACHT, CABIN CRUISER.


Affinity Insurance Brokers

Official Brokers to the Irish Sailing Association. Affinity Insurance Brokers, the premier source for insurance coverage and risk management advice for Ireland's sailing and fishing communities.



Cargo INSURANCE. Take advantage of capacity and services through the London market and other specialist insurers. Our arrangements include insurers able to write surplus lines in most of North America.


Arden Insurance

Arden Insurance Services are able to arrange cover on all craft from the smallest of dinghies to the largest ocean going vessels. Discounts are also available for: RYA Qualifications, Policy excesses up to 1,000GBP, Craft in Marina Berths, Craft with alarms. Many of our standard policies include: Third Party Liability up to 2,000,000GBP, 12 Months in commission cover, Underwater Machinery Damage, Protected No Claims Bonus, Road Transit Cover, Legal Protection Cover.

Arden Insurance

Edwards & Associates

We offer marine insurance to cover pleasure boats such as yachts and cabin cruisers, as well as larger private boats. Whether you are looking for personal or commercial marine insurance, we have a large base of insurers who we use to make sure that you get the best possible deal: Personal and Commercial Marine Insurance.

Edwards & Associates

BC-Marine Inurance

Set the right course to solve your Marine Insurance Requirements. Marine Craft Insurance, Legal Protection, Foreign Travel, Boat SalesAccident & Medical, Loss Of Earnings, Marine Finance, Marine Tradesmen, Crew Liability, Instalment Plans, Boat Builders & Repairers, Public Liability, Recovery & Assistance, Product Liability. UK, Ireland, Scotland, Wales & the EU.

BC-Marine Inurance


We have particular expertise in the following: International Marine, Cargo, Inland Goods in Transit, Hauliers Liability, Freight Forwarders Liability.

Bishops plc

Alfred Blackmore

Alfred Blackmore Group Ltd UK insurance broker specialising in bloodstock, classic car, construction, financial services, healthcare, international motor, marine, professional indemnity, reinsurance and special accident.

Alfred Blackmore

Blythin & Brown

Loughborough brokers provide online quotes for marine insurance, and also offer a full range of financial advice.

Blythin & Brown


Marine insurance underwritten by Lloyd's of London. Discover what is covered by the policies, read the FAQs, get an online quote or claim online.


Covers most commercial risks in the following industries: manufacture, motor trade, haulage supply, farms, shops, offices, clubs, pubs, hotels and marine (ONLINE APPLICATION FORM).


German marine insurer provides boat-insurance services throughout Europe. Select a boat type, get a quick quote, and track a claim. 20% internet purchase discount.


Newton Crum

Dinghy - Narrowboat - Motorboat - Sailboard- Yacht - Marine Insurance. FREE INSURANCE QUOTATIONS no charge or obligation. Dinghy Insurance, Sailboard Insurance, Inland Waterways Insurance, Yacht - Motorboat - Speedboat Insurance, Stolen Boat List.

Newton Crum

Engine Breakdown Cover Ltd.

Offers unique insurance policies for marine in-board engines.

Engine Breakdown Cover

Fairmont Insurance Services

Super Yacht Insurance for yachts in excess of $1 Million to over $125 Million. Coverage includes Liability, Loss of Charter, and Crew Personal Accident and Medical.


Lucas Fettes & Partners

Marine Insurance: Hull and accessories of a vessel, passengers and worldwide cargo movements.

Lucas Fettes

Navigators and General

Navigators and General has been at the forefront of yacht and motorboat insurance since 1921 and has been the market leader in this field for over 70 years. Navigators & General is part of the Zurich Financial Services Group and Financial Ombudsman Service, providing policyholders with world-class security. Today, Navigators provides cover for vessels with a total value in excess of £750,000,000. Underwriting insurance for all types of leisure craft, from dinghies to £5,000,000 vessels, has provided us with the breadth of experience to understand even the most individual requirements.

Navigators and General

Giles Insurance Brokers

Marine Insurance. Dinghy, Power Boat, Yacht, Cabin Cruiser, Jet Ski, Charter Boat, Commercial Fishing Boat, Yacht Yard

Giles Insurance Brokers

SHW Group

Marine Cargo Insurance. Cover is arranged with specialist insurers and the individual policies are written to suit your business requirements including if required Warehousing for distribution during export or import.

SHW Group


Freight legal liability for both UK and international domiciled companies. Freight legal liability insurance, Cargo insurance, Charterer's Liability insurance. Delegated authority to deal with claims matters relating to marine insurance.

Lonham Group

Mardon Marine Insurance Brokers and are the websites of Mardon Marine and maritime Underwriting Agencies Ltd. (Including Maritime Underwriting Agencies Ltd)

Mardon Marine

Noble Marine

Noble Marine are specialist insurance brokers dealing with all classes Yacht insurance, rowing insurance, laser class, dinghy insurance, sailboard insurance.

Noble Marine

Rob, Perry Marine

Need Insurance? We are agents for one of the most competitive insurance brokers in the country who specialise in marine insurance.

Rob, Perry Marine

Pendleton May

We operate a scheme for the insurance of yachts, motor boats and small craft. Our expertise, experience and number of clients insuring their boats enables us to provide you with wide cover at competitive cost. Try us by completing our form.

Pendleton May

Terra Nova

Terra Nova Protection & Indemnity provides fixed premium P&I cover for the Owner / Manager / Charterers of commercial ships operating in domestic, coastwise or short-sea trades.

Terra Nova

Oban Insurance Centre

Read about the insurance schemes covering marine, holidays, business, motoring and agriculture. Offers an online quote system.

Oban Insurance

B Portwood & Co.Ltd

Marine and boat insurance. On-line insurance rates are provided for dinghies, canoes, sailboards, small craft, inflatables, speedboats, yachts and motorboats for use in the uk and in Western Europe for up to 60 days.


Alexander Brooks & Stevens Ltd

Marine Insurance providers

Alexander Brooks & Stevens

Graham Sykes Insurance

Graham Sykes Insurance insure a variety of boats. Our polices cover you for use on inland and costal waterways between May and September. Smaller craft usually have to be laid up ashore over the winter months. For larger vessels we can provide cover for them all year round. For the water skiers out there we can usually extend your policy to include liability for towing water skiers.

Graham Sykes

Craig & Suttar

In most cases we can provide all risks cover including third party liability for you and your craft. Polices cover you for use on inland and costal waterways between May and September. For the waterskiers out there we can usually extend your policy to include liability for towing waterskiers. In some case we can add your boat onto your house contents insurance which is sometimes cheaper.

Craig & Suttar

Tyser (UK) Ltd

Marine and boat Insurance

Tyser (UK) Ltd

Yachtsman Marine Insurance Ireland

Yachtsman Marine Insurance Ireland. Sports boats, Yacht cruisers, motor cruisers. We offer yachtsmen an exceptional insurance package at a highly competitive price. We are constantly reviewing our policy wording to provide the most up to date terms and conditions to ensure that our clients have the most appropriate cover.

Yachtsman Insurance

















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