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Authorisation, Approval and Change in Control Applications

Regulation is a significant issue for financial services institutions and firms, requiring a highly specialised approach to doing business. Establishing or acquiring a significant interest in a regulated financial services business can be a highly complex matter. Such transactions routinely require clearance by the regulator before a transaction can proceed - well prepared applications can therefore substantially shorten the time necessary to obtain such clearance enabling clients to proceed with their commercial plans without undue delay.

We understand the issues of concern to the regulator when a new financial services firm is seeking authorisation or where there is a change in control in respect of an authorised firm's shareholding. Our financial services team includes corporate and regulatory specialists who have handled a wide variety of such applications on behalf of firms and individuals - we are also different from the majority of financial services law firms as our team also has experience of advising the regulator on such matters.

Examples of the specific areas that we can assist with include:

  • assisting in financial services mergers and acquisitions and advising on change in control issues where transactions relate to authorised firms
  • advising on new business start-ups and making applications for authorisation under the FSMA
  • assisting principal firms and appointed representatives on establishing appointed representative relationships
  • assisting overseas EEA firms on establishing UK branches under a MiFID passport arrangement

These matters can often be very substantial projects and require a high degree of project management skills in addition to technical legal skills. We can help project manage such regulatory applications and where necessary we take a cross-disciplinary approach involving other professional advisers, including NOMADS, accountants, compliance and risk management consultants to achieve the best outcome.

Fox Williams is also one of the most experienced firms in the City in acting for individuals working in financial services within the square mile. The scrutiny of the regulator is now focused upon individuals as well as their firms. Seeking FCA approved person status is now a more challenging process and in complex matters requires specialist support.

We can assist firms in seeking application for approved persons status both in routine matters and in more complex "Significant Influence Function" applications. The areas in which we can assist applicants for approved person status include:

  • assisting authorised firms with the submission of applications for approved person status on behalf of new employees
  • advising on how complex approved person applications should be handled, including applications where it may be necessary for the applicant to make adverse disclosures
  • assisting on the recruitment of directors and other Significant Influence Function holders and with due-diligence enquiries prior to appointment
  • in contested approval applications assisting the applicant to make representations to the Regulatory Transactions Committee and Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA. In appropriate cases we can also represent individuals in the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber)

Our aim in these regulatory applications is to make the application as smooth as possible for the individual. Applications may determine whether an individual continues to work in the City, so we appreciate their importance.

"It's been excellent. The service you get from them is very personal from the partners. They're attentive and responsive. They carve their own niche and give sound and solid advice."
(Chambers UK, 2015)

Who should I contact?


Peter Wright
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2680


  • Top Ranked Chambers UK 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Ranked in Chambers Europe 2013 - Leading Individual
  • Ranked in Chambers Global 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Legal 500 - Leading Firm
  • The Lawyer UK 200 - Listed Firm
  • The Law Society Excellence Awards 2012 - Shortlisted
  • Investors in People - Bronze