The FSA warns brokers considering becoming ARs to check out their principal agents

Now is the time for brokers to decide if they intend to become directly authorised or appointed representatives (ARs).Director of the FSA's high street firms division Sarah Wilson said that now brokers can register to receive an application pack, it is time for them to decide which path they will take.But Wilson warned brokers considering becoming ARs to remember that many firms touting themselves as principal agents are not yet authorised themselves. She said that brokers looking to become ARs should have a contingency plan in case their principals fail the authorisation process. Wilson said brokers wanting to be directly regulated should look at the sample application forms on the FSA's website in order to begin planning.Brokers do not have to be FSA compliant when they submit their application, but must commit to be compliant by 14 January 2005. This includes having a written compliance plan, which the FSA may ask to see.The FSA is currently considering how it will give brokers who are GISC compliant "due credit". It will set out its criteria for due credit in the next few weeks.

The Application Process

  • Brokers can now register for an application pack at or by calling the FSA's contact centre on 0845 605 55 25 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
  • After registering their details, firms will receive application forms in December 2003.
  • The FSA will begin accepting application forms from mid-January 2004.
  • With a maximum six month processing time, brokers must submit their application to the FSA by 13 July 2004 to ensure they are authorised in time.
  • In order to get a discount for early application brokers should submit their forms by 31 May 2004.
  • If an application is approved, brokers will receive a "minded to authorise" letter.
  • In December 2004 authorised firms will receive a permission notice, confirming that they are authorised.
  • Brokers must notify the FSA of any changes to their business that occur between receiving the "minded to authorise" letter and permission notice.