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If your firm wishes to conduct DPB (Investment Business) activities, it must have a licence from ICAEW.

You must:

  • fill in an application form;
  • satisfy ICAEW's Investment Business Committee that the firm meets the criteria to carry out investment business work;
  • pay an annual DPB (Investment Business) licence fee;
  • comply with the DPB (Investment Business) Handbook;
  • comply with the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Regulations and possibly have the enhanced levels of PII for general insurance business; and
  • be monitored by ICAEW.

If any principals are not members of ICAEW (or certain other bodies, see the application form), they will have to become DPB (Investment Business) affiliates. Please fill in and return (with your DPB (Investment Business) licence application form), a DPB (Investment Business) affiliate application form for each such partner who needs to become a DPB (Investment Business) affiliate.

DPB (Investment Business) affiliate

Individuals or corporate bodies that are principals in an ICAEW firm licensed by ICAEW under the designated professional body DPB (Investment Business) arrangement, but who are not members of ICAEW are required to apply for DPB (Investment Business) affiliate status. Members of ICAS, CAI, ACCA, the Law Society of England & Wales, the Law Society of Scotland, the Law Society of Northern Ireland or the Institute of Actuaries do not need to become DPB (Investment Business) affiliates.

Regulatory applications and fees

Access more information about the application process, including the 8-12 week’s lead time, the assessment process and fees.

Application forms

DPB (Investment Business) firms and consumer credit

ICAEW has arrangements in place which enable firms to provide consumer credit services without the need for authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

There’s no application to complete and no fee to pay. If firms meet the eligibility criteria, then such activities can be undertaken, provided that they are undertaken as set out in the DPB (Consumer Credit) Handbook.

As these arrangements are made under Part XX of Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), the service may only be provided in a manner incidental to the activity of the firm generally, and which arises out of, or is complementary to, another professional service, which is not itself a regulated activity, provided to a specific consumer client (as with investment business).

There is more information available at icaew.com/ccl.

How to become an appointed representative of an FCA authorised firm

Firms may wish to consider becoming an appointed representative of an FCA authorised firm for all or certain types of investment business. This route is open to all firms, including those that hold a licence from ICAEW under the Designated Professional Body arrangements.

Under the terms of ICAEW's Code of Ethics, however, a member should consider ‘whether the status of the third party investment business provider is compatible with the requirement to give objective advice’ (section 331, Agencies and referrals).

This means that a professional firm can only become an appointed representative of an independent financial adviser or a ‘whole of market’ firm and this applies for all financial services business, including general insurance and advice on mortgages.

For information on FCA authorisation, visit www.fca.org.uk.