Consultation with Officers of the Authority
Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact officers of the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (“the Authority”) at an early stage to discuss their proposals for establishing and operating a licensable business in the Isle of Man. These discussions enable the Authority’s officers to give applicants any appropriate guidance where it is sought and to identify any foreseeable difficulties connected with the proposed operation. It also enables the Authority to provide guidance on which classes of regulated activity the licence is required to cover and on any other matters which may be relevant. However, the Authority does not give legal advice and, in cases of doubt or difficulty establishing whether or which regulated activity(ies) is being conducted, applicants should seek appropriate legal advice from a firm of advocates in the Isle of Man.
On receipt of the application the Executive of the Authority will process the application. This will include a review of the application form and supporting documents such as the business plan and financial projections, and, if appropriate, discussion with other regulatory bodies.
The assessment process for licence applicants involves a thorough evaluation to ensure the Authority’s fitness and propriety criteria, including integrity, competence and financial standing, 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”). The licensing policy is supported by the Training and Competency Framework. Individuals that are intended to hold Controlled Functions, and who must therefore have their fitness and propriety assessed, will need to submit the appropriate F&P forms. Details of the Controlled Functions and which form is required may be found in the Regulatory Guidance – Fitness and Propriety. The F&P forms are available here.
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.
On completion of all enquiries the Executive will make a recommendation to the Board of the Authority (“the Board”) as to whether a licence should be granted and detailing any conditions that it may be appropriate to place on the licence. Please note that for this purpose the Chief Executive of the Authority is part of the executive staff, and does not take her place at the licence hearing as a member of the Board.
The Hearing by the Board of the Authority
The applicant will be notified of the recommendation by letter, and will also receive a copy of the paper supplied by the Executive to the Board, and will be invited to attend the licence hearing. It is the applicant’s choice whether it wishes to attend the hearing.
If the Executive recommends that the licence be refused, the applicant will be given the opportunity to seek an adjournment of the hearing in order to arrange for legal representation.
The Executive's recommendation is purely that. The decision to grant or approve an authorisation is made by the Board, which may accept, or reject, the recommendation of the Executive.
On the date of the hearing the Board will hear the submissions of the Executive in support of its recommendation, together with any representations that may have been made by the applicant or its legal representation. They will then withdraw to consider their decision.
The decision of the Board will be notified to the applicant subsequently in writing by the Secretary to the Authority. Reasons will be provided for a negative decision and for the imposition of conditions on a licence.
If an applicant is aggrieved by a decision of the Authority not to issue a licence or to attach conditions to a licence, it may seek a review by the Financial Services Tribunal.
This Tribunal is set up on an ad hoc basis, and is made up of individuals who are independent of both the Authority and applicant. The Financial Services Tribunal cannot overturn the Authority’s decision but can refer the case back to the Authority for reconsideration based on its findings.
Further details of the procedures of the Financial Services Tribunal can be requested from the Chief Secretary's Office.
Any right of review (e.g. to the Financial Services Tribunal) will be explained to the applicant in the letter communicating the decision of the Board.