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Isle of Man Government
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I.O.M.F.S.A

Becoming a Regulated Entity

Do I need to apply for a Financial Services Licence?

The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (“the Authority”) is responsible, under the Financial Services Act 2008, for the licensing, regulation and supervision of persons undertaking regulated activities, i.e. deposit-taking, investment business, services to collective investment schemes, fiduciary (corporate & trust) services, money transmission services and e-money services, in or from the Isle of Man.

If you are carrying on a regulated activity, as a business, in or from the Isle of Man, you will need to be licensed by the Authority. Please see the Regulated Activities Order 2011 for details of what constitutes regulated activities and any applicable exclusions and also the Financial Services (Exemptions) Regulations 2011 for specified exemptions from the requirement to hold a licence.

If you are NOT carrying on the activities by way of business, for example if it is voluntary work for a charity, friends or family, then you may not need a licence. If you are in any doubt as to whether an activity is a regulated activity or whether it is being done by way of business, please contact us or seek legal advice.

The Authority’s staff can assist and guide you with the preparation of an application for a licence. However, the Authority does not give legal advice and, in cases of doubt or difficulty establishing whether regulated activity is being conducted, applicants should seek appropriate legal advice from a firm of advocates in the Isle of Man.

How do I apply for a Financial Services Licence?

Introduction

A business that needs to be licensed should contact the Authorisations Division as soon as possible in advance of the desired date for commencing business to arrange a meeting. The Division’s contact details can be found below.

The assessment process for licence applicants involves a thorough evaluation to ensure the Authority’s fitness and propriety criteria, including integrity, competence and solvency, are met. This evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Authority's Licensing Policy for Regulated Activities under the Financial Services Act 2008 (“licensing policy”), under the Authority’s Licensing Procedure. The licensing policy is supported by the Training and Competency Framework. Persons that must be vetted will need to submit the appropriate vetting forms. Details of which form is required may be found in the Vetting Guidance section of the website. The vetting forms are available on the Key Person forms page.

It should be noted that the onus is on the licence applicant and relevant persons connected with the licence applicant to satisfy the Authority that they are fit and proper, not on the Authority to prove that they are not.

When applying to the Authority for a licence, it will be necessary to agree which classes of regulated activity the licence needs to cover. The Authority’s Authorisations Division or Supervision Division can provide guidance on this subject.

The application process

To apply for a licence the relevant sections of the licence application form must be completed.

A full list of supporting documentation is set out in the application form and needs to be submitted with the application, this includes a business plan. The supporting documentation varies depending on which classes of regulated activity you are applying to undertake.

In general, the more complete the application, the simpler (and quicker) it is to process. However, applications may be submitted with certain items marked: "to follow". For example, it is common for a potential start-up business to obtain a quote for professional indemnity insurance, but not place the business on cover until the Board of the Authority has considered the application.

How much will an application cost?

In respect of each class of regulated activity:

  • A non-refundable fee is payable when you apply for a licence. This application fee covers the Authority’s costs in processing the application.
  • An annual licence fee is payable in advance on 1 August for each year in which you hold a licence. When a licence is issued to you the annual fee will be pro-rated to cover the period until the next annual renewal.

Current application and annual fees are detailed in the Financial Services (Fees) Order 2016 and the Collective Investment Schemes (Fees) Order 2015.

How long will an application take?

Once received the application will be processed in accordance with the Authority’s Licensing Procedure.

The Authority’s current published service standard for processing an application, from receipt of the application form to a hearing by the Board, is 3 months. This standard applies to an application with which there are no major difficulties concerning the applicant or people connected with the applicant.

An application may take considerably longer than 3 months to process if it is incomplete or if there are issues in relation to the applicant or any of its key persons that require further investigation before a recommendation can be made to the Board of the Authority. To ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible, it is important that you arrange for all the necessary forms and documentation to be completed as accurately as possible and submitted in a timely manner.

During the processing of your application, two-way communication with the Authorisations Division is essential. This dialogue will allow the Authorisations Division to gain a better understanding of the business, which may also speed up the application process

For further information

  • Please see the additional pages in the "Becoming a Regulated Entity" section of the website.
  • Authorisations division may be contacted on 01624-689310 or 01624- 689317.
  • Supervision division is responsible for the on-going supervision of regulated entities and may contacted on the following numbers:
    • Deposit-takers: 01624-689320;
    • Fiduciary (corporate and trust) service providers: 01624-689337;
    • Investment businesses and businesses providing services to collective investment schemes: 01624-689332.
  • A list of advocates is available from the Isle of Man Law Society at www.iomlawsociety.co.im.
  • The 'licenceholder' and 'funds' pages, including Handbooks for the various regulated sectors, licensed under the Financial Services Act 2008, provide further information about on-going regulatory requirements.