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Landing slots confirmed: the FCA confirms it has allocated landing slots to all firms known to be applying for full authorisation in the UK

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On 12 August 2022, the FCA issued a statement “Landing slots for firms in the TPR” on its temporary permissions regime (“TPR”) webpage regarding the allocation of landing slots to firms presently under the regime.

The update confirms that all firms in the TPR which the FCA are expecting to apply for full authorisation should now have received a formal direction confirming their ‘landing slot’. The direction sets out an opening and closing date, which is the timeframe in which a firm is to submit its application to either:

  • attain full (non-temporary) Part 4A permission
  • vary its existing Part 4A permission (firms with a UK top-up permission)

Submitting an application for authorisation

Full authorisation (Part 4A permission under FSMA)

A firm must demonstrate that it presently meets and will continue to meet the threshold conditions for each of the regulated activities that it proposes to carry on in the UK. Many of the standards and requirements that apply to fully authorised firms already apply to firms in the TPR. The threshold conditions are set out in Schedule 6 to FSMA, examples of which include:

  • having appropriate financial and non-financial resources
  • being fit and proper
  • having a suitable business model

The FCA may take regulatory action against a firm if it does not meet a threshold condition. Regulatory action can include a firm’s permission being removed.

Firms must explain how their UK business will be structured and how the proposed structure mitigates the “risks of harm”. Firms are encouraged to take account of the UK’s Senior Managers and Certification Regime (“SM&CR”). The SM&CR aims to reduce harm to consumers and strengthen market integrity by making individuals accountable for their conduct and competence.

Firms must apply for approval of senior managers.

Varying an existing Part 4A permission (firms with a UK top-up permission)

Firms with an existing UK top-up permission must submit a Variation of Permissions (“VoP”) application.

Other firms

All other firms should submit a new firm authorisation application.

Submitting before the opening date

The FCA will disregard and potentially destroy any application submitted prior to the opening date in the direction it has sent to TPR firms. See the FCA’s Direction of 31 December 2020.

Submitting after the closing date

The FCA may terminate a firm’s temporary permission if it fails to submit its application for authorisation before the closing date. The FCA will notify the firm of the termination date by decision notice.

If the FCA does not decide to prevent the firm from entering into the supervised run-off mechanism (the “SRO”) under the Financial Service Contracts Regime, it will do so on the termination date. If the FCA decides to prevent a firm from entering the SRO, upon receipt of the decision notice, the firm’s temporary permission will terminate and the firm will be prohibited from carrying on further business in the UK. 

Amending the landing slot

The FCA is prepared to be flexible about changing landing slots, however they can refuse or partially accept any request they receive.

“We’ll be as flexible as we can, but we aren’t obliged to change a firm’s dates and we expect all firms to be organised and prepared … We may grant the request in full or in part, or refuse it. A grant in part means that we’ve changed a firm’s opening date and/or closing date but not to the date(s) the firm has requested.”

The FCA will endeavour to consider requests, but “normally these must be received no later than 20 working days before the last day of your firm’s allocated landing slot”. The FCA will respond to requests within 10 working days. If the request is accepted in full or in part, the FCA will issue a new direction setting out the revised opening and/or closing date.

Firms that intend to be UK authorised without a landing slot

If the FCA is not expecting a firm to apply for full authorisation in the UK, it may not have received a landing slot direction.

These firms can still make an application for authorisation, which must be sent to the FCA by 31 December 2022. The FCA will treat any applications submitted after this date as invalid.

How Eversheds Sutherland can help

Since June 2016, our lawyers, consultants and International Funds Net (FundsNet) team have advised various institutions passporting into the UK from EU Member States and passporting from the UK into the EU on Brexit planning and Brexit related issues.

Please refer to our updated flowcharts to help navigate the temporary permission regimes: