Authorisation of EEA banks and insurers

This page provides information for EEA banks and insurers currently operating in the UK via passporting arrangements under various EU Directives that wish to apply for authorisation in the UK as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. 

Introduction

Following the UK’s exit from the EU at 11pm on 31 January 2020, the UK entered the transition period agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU. The transition period will last until 11pm on 31 December 2020. 

During the transition period EU law will continue to apply to the UK under the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement Act.

EEA firms currently operating through a passport in the UK do so either via a Freedom of Establishment (FOE) passport (if they have a branch in the UK), or via a Freedom of Services (FOS) passport (if they do not have a physical presence in the UK). 

EEA firms exercising passport/treaty rights in the UK qualify for authorisation under Schedules 3 and 4 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and are ‘authorised persons’ for the purposes of FSMA. 

Passporting rights for EEA firms will continue for the duration of the transition period. 

Once passporting rights cease at the end of the transition period, EEA firms currently relying on passporting arrangements will require authorisation from the PRA (or for solo-regulated firms, the FCA) to undertake business in the UK.

HM Treasury has legislated such that the Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR) and the Financial Services Contracts Regime (comprising Contractual Run-Off (CRO) and Supervised Run-Off (SRO)) will now take effect from the end of the transition period. 

Under the TPR, a firm that is authorised to carry on regulated activities in the UK under passporting arrangements immediately before the end of the transition period can obtain a deemed Part 4A permission (or a deemed variation of an existing ‘top-up’ permission) while they seek authorisation from the UK regulators. 

If your firm has already:

  • made (and not withdrawn) a valid notification to the PRA that it wishes to enter the TPR, or
  • submitted (and not withdrawn) an application for permission under Part 4A of FSMA (or for variation of an existing ‘top-up’ permission)

then you do not need to take further steps to inform the PRA of your firm’s intention to enter the TPR.  (The validity of existing TPR notifications is not affected by the change to the start date of the TPR.)

If your firm has not taken the necessary steps to enter the TPR, it may still do so by submitting an application for permission under Part 4A of FSMA (or for variation of an existing ‘top-up’ permission) before the end of the transition period.

The Financial Services Contracts Regime will provide for the orderly wind-down of UK regulated activities of passporting firms that do not enter the TPR, or that exit the TPR without UK authorisation.

Further information on the authorisation process

If you are an EEA firm that wants to obtain authorisation from the PRA, please note you can apply for authorisation of a UK branch of an EEA firm now, but the branch authorisation can only become effective when passporting arrangements cease to apply. A UK subsidiary of an EEA firm can be authorised now.

Information on the PRA’s approach to branch authorisation and supervision of banks and insurers is available in:

In addition, you may find it helpful to refer to our key communications on EU withdrawal.

Pre-application process

EEA firms can apply at any time. We encourage you to engage with the PRA and FCA pre-application process before you submit an application for authorisation (for a third-country branch or a subsidiary). Please get in touch with your usual PRA supervisory contact to arrange a pre-application meeting. If you do not have a named supervisor, please email us at PRA.FirmEnquiries@bankofengland.co.uk or call us on 020 3461 7000 and we will contact the relevant supervisory teams. Our experience has shown that engagement in the pre-application process has clear advantages to all parties. 

 

Application process

You can apply for authorisation by submitting the PRA’s standard application forms. If you are uncertain about what may be required, please discuss this with us during the pre-application stage.

If you are an EEA passporting firm without a ‘top-up’ permission you will be required to pay the new authorisations fee of £25,000 on submission of an application for authorisation, in accordance with our and the FCA’s fees rules. 

If you are an EEA passporting firm with a ‘top-up’ permission you will be required to pay a fee of £12,500 on submission of an application to vary your existing Part 4A permission, in accordance with our and the FCA’s Fees rules.

The basis for the assessment of any authorisation application is determining whether the applicant satisfies, and will continue to satisfy, the PRA’s and the FCA’s Threshold Conditions (TCs). For branches, the assessment of TCs applies to the whole firm and not just the branch.  In order to assess whether a firm satisfies and will continue to satisfy the TCs, we engage with the firm’s Home State Supervisor. 

More information on our authorisation process is available through the joint PRA/FCA New Bank Start-up Unit and New Insurer Start-up Unit. Please bear in mind that these pages are targeted at firms that have not previously operated in the UK and may include information not relevant to EEA branch applications, such as use of mobilisation, in the case of banks. Please refer to the Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR) on the extension of statutory deadlines applying to branch applications by EEA firms. 

This page was last updated 25 March 2020

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