Licensing Procedure

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.

Internal Processing

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, and, if appropriate, discussion with other regulatory bodies. In addition, for controllers, officers and key persons, the Authority will have to ensure each individual meets the “fit and proper” criteria. This will involve seeking references from previous employers and relevant professional bodies, a police check and a credit check. For further information on the vetting process please see the “Key Person Forms” and “Vetting Guidance” pages of the website.

On completion of these 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 his 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 be invited to attend the licence hearing. It is the applicant’s choice whether they wish 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 no more than this. The decision on whether or not to grant a licence is made by the Board, who 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 his 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.

Review Process

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.