Appointed Representative and
Principal Firms

An Appointed Representative (often referred to as an “AR”) is a firm or individual that, due to a formal relationship it has with an FCA authorised firm, can conduct specific regulated activities without themselves being authorised by the FCA to do so.

Appointed Representatives are not authorised by the FCA. Instead, they are registered with the FCA by an authorised firm that, in this context, is referred to as a ‘Principal Firm’ or just ‘the Principle’.

Through their relationship, the Principal allows the Appointed Representative to conduct certain regulated activities that the Principal is authorised by the FCA to undertake. The Principal is responsible for the compliance of the Appointed Representative, and therefore, it’s common for the Principal to charge the Appointed Representative for their ongoing relationship.

Principal Firms are responsible for establishing the suitability of an Appointed Representative before appointing them, applying and seeking permission for the appointment of an Appointed Representative and maintaining sufficient oversight of each Appointed Representative’s compliance with the FCA’s rules. Principal Firms must also ensure that the ongoing appointment of the Appointed Representative does not adversely affect their ability to comply with the FCA’s rules, including the threshold conditions.

As Introducer Appointed Representative’s are restricted in what they can do, it generally carries less risk of non-compliance and therefore the registration process is shorter.

An Appointed Representative on the other hand is able to conduct the regulated activity in their own right and is not limited in the same way as an Introducer Appointed Representative. However, similar limitations can be implemented within the agreement required to be appointed by the Principal. Failure to comply is then a breach of the agreement and not a compliance breach by the Principal Firm.

You can read more about being an Appointed Representative on the FCA website or by downloading our free guides below.

Please note that Conducting regulated activities without the correct authorisation is a criminal offence as it would breach Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, often referred to as the General Prohibition. Speak to one of our experts today for confidential and no obligation advice about claims management authorisation.

Approved Persons and Controlled Functions

Controlled functions are designated to individuals within a firm who is an Appointed Representative (AR) (other than Introducer Appointed Representatives) of an FCA authorised firm or ‘Principal firm’.

A Control Function may only be held by someone who has been approved by the FCA and is typically understood to be ‘Approved Persons’.

Due to the implementation of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR), the Approved Person Regime no longer applies to FCA regulated firms, but it still applies to their Appointed Representatives. This also means that SM&CR does not apply to Appointed Representatives.

From December 2019 and as a result of SM&CR, a large number of controlled functions were removed for AR, with the remainder typically associated with executive positions e.g. for a director of an AR.

Approved persons have to meet the FCA’s fit and proper person requirements and must comply with the approved persons conduct requirements. More information on these matters can be found on the FCA website or by downloading our free guides below.

Approved persons at Appointed Representative firms do not have to apply to the FCA themselves, the Principal firm should do this for them. The Approved Persons(s) for an AR will be entered into the FCA public financial service register.

Individuals holding a controlled function can be held personally accountable by the FCA and in the event of failings this can lead to personal fines that the individual themselves must pay.

How can MEMA Support a Principal Firm?

MEMA has a experience of helping both Principal Firms looking to onboard an Appointed Representative and Appointed Representatives seeking direct authorisation themselves.  If you are an Appointed Representative or want to become one and would like some advice, or to learn more about being an Appointed Representative, please contact us today.

As a Principal Firm or one who is considering becoming one, you should be aware of the risk that is involved with having one or more Appointed Representatives. We can assist you with any part of the journey, whether you want to talk about what the onboarding process involves right through to helping you monitor the compliance of your Appointed Representatives.

To name just a few, we can help you by:

  • Identifying which form of Appointed Representatives a proposed or current Principal firm may require I.e. Appointed Representatives and Introducer Appointed Representatives.
  • Advising on the FCA’s rules as applicable to each form of Appointed Representative and the specific rules and requirements to meet before the appointment of an Appointed Representative.
  • Establishing a framework for onboarding of an Appointed Representative to help ensure that your firm appropriately onboards them.
  • Creating and implementing a Compliance Monitoring Framework for your firm to utilise once an Appointed Representative has been onboarded. This helps Principals to comply with relevant FCA rules on an ongoing basis.
  • Completing online applications to the FCA to register and seek approval for an Appointed Representative.
  • Conduct ongoing monitoring reviews and audits to provide compliance monitoring feedback and management information to help ensure you maintain appropriate oversight over the activities of your Appointed Representatives.

If you want to know more amount becoming a Principal Firm, speak to one of our experts today.

FCA Authorisation

If you are looking to become authorised by the FCA, MEMA can help.

Each applicant who works with MEMA is assigned a dedicated Regulatory Adviser who will support you throughout your application, answering queries you may have relating to the application and providing you with guidance and support.

The process starts with a fact find between yourself and one of our Regulatory Advisors where we’ll get to know you and your business and how you intend to provide your services.

We will provide you with advice and guidance on how to comply with the FCA’s requirements and identify any risks.

We will then produce for you a series of documents to support your application and help ensure that you become authorised. These documents include a Regulatory Business Plan and Compliance Monitoring Plan. We also produce a compliance manual for you containing documentation for you to implement into your business upon authorisation to help enable you to comply with the FCA’s requirements.

An online application will then be completed along with all relevant forms, which will then be submitted to the FCA. Should there be any FCA questions, your Regulatory Adviser will work with you to draft a full response.

In short, we’re here for our clients every step of the way. We provide our clients with the benefit of our knowledge and experience to not only help ensure that your application is successful, but that your business has the right foundations to ensure positive customer outcomes.

Ongoing FCA Compliance

As an FCA authorised person or firm, you might need help to ensure you comply with the FCA’s rules.

We provide our clients with support they need to maintain compliance and avoid breaching the rules. Our bespoke service is individually tailored to each of our client’s requirements and objectives to help them meet in the best way possible.

Whether you need documentation to help you remain compliant, want ongoing advice or support, impartial monitoring of your activities or anything else, MEMA may be able to help.

Why Choose MEMA?

Get started!

MEMA has been supporting firms through the FCA compliance process since 2019. In that time, we have helped hundreds of businesses to successfully gain and retain FCA authorisation.

We have a unique blend of experience from ex-regulators, big 4 consultants and fin/regtech specialisation. Our team is highly experienced and expertly skilled. We specialise in providing our clients with solutions to often complex regulatory requirements and compliance needs.

Our unique industry insight and comfort with compliance enables our team to support you to the fullest extent possible, helping to develop your business model and compliance.

Contact us

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Your key contacts


Ademola is an accomplished consultant with over a decade of experience across regulation, banking, and consumer credit. As MEMA Consultants co-founder, he leverages extensive regulatory expertise to guide clients through critical processes and full compliance. His experience across sectors enables tailored solutions to complex business challenges. Ademola partners with clients as a strategic advisor to help futureproof their business through an in-depth understanding of the regulatory landscape.


Misah is a director at MEMA Consultants with over a decade of experience in financial services. Holding a legal background and postgraduate qualification, she previously worked at the Financial Conduct Authority. Misah has led compliance transformation for global consumer services organisations across Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Her expertise includes implementing compliance frameworks for financial regulations, FCPA, UK Bribery Act, data privacy, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Misah is skilled at advising clients on operational and strategic projects, leveraging her in-depth knowledge of regulatory environments to deliver solutions tailored to complex business needs.

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Appointed Representative
And Principal Firms