Who needs to apply?
An entity or an individual intending to conduct financial services business in, or from within, the Bailiwick of Guernsey needs to receive relevant regulatory permissions from Authorisations if the intended business would be subject to supervisory legislation. To assist in determining if an applicant's proposed activities are by way of business and require regulatory permission, review the following information and that contained under sector-specific application headings. Please note the Commission does not provide the services of company registration, enquiries should be directed to The Guernsey Registry.
Managing the application process
To turnover an application in a timely manner, we need to understand the rationale for its submission: this means we will not make any assumptions where there are apparent gaps in the information that has been submitted. No application analysis will be submitted to a decision maker until all information is received and any queries that we have raised have been fully satisfied. The following information outlines key features that we will assess when an application pack is received. Applicants who follow this application process will aid effective and timely processing.
Packs vary depending on the type of regulatory permission required. The guidance contained in sector-specific application forms will detail the information to be provided, as well as any additional documentation that should be submitted to complete the pack. The provision of an accurate, consolidated application submission is deemed to be a corporate governance responsibility.
The intention of the pack is to enable us to identify fully the applicant’s:
- Business model rationale;
- Controllers, beneficial owners, executive officers and senior staff;
- Prospective business and service providers;
- Geographical location of principal parties and business to be conducted;
- Resources: financial, premises, staffing and systems;
- Risk mitigation policy, procedures and monitoring programme.
The following is illustrative but not necessarily exhaustive or application-specific:
- Explanatory covering letter stating the rationale for the application submission;
- Application form;
- Application fee: non-refundable and as specified, or otherwise, on each application form;
- Business Plan; the Code relating to associated prudential risks is available here
- Business Risk Assessment; guidance in compiling a business risk assessment in relation to financial crime risk is available here
- Group structure chart (if relevant);
- Staff structure chart of entity seeking regulatory permission;
- Contractual agreements (drafts acceptable);
- Audited financial statements and budgeted projections;
- Investor information e.g. Prospectus, Factsheet (drafts acceptable);
- Personal Questionnaires (to be submitted through the Online PQ Portal) for key personnel fulfilling duties in the following categories:
We will only process applications once in receipt of an application form bearing wet signatures of the relevant authorised officers.
The documentation required to accompany some applications may be extensive: if we request electronic data submission this will enable faster processing.
Where application fees are applicable these are non-refundable and must be remitted at the time of the application submission in the absence of which no processing will be undertaken. Fees are prescribed in the Financial Services Commission (Fees) Regulations, in force at the time. Payment is preferred by BACS. See individual application forms for bank details and prescribed fees, where applicable.
Successful applicants will receive both the relevant regulatory permission at the conclusion of the application process and an invoice for the annual fee, reduced pro rata in the first year (if relevant).
- Authorisations: We conduct checks on applicants, their principals and senior officers, which may include contacting the home regulator of entities and individuals, if the parties are not known to the Commission. Applicants should be aware that the speed at which these checks progress is mainly determined by the overseas regulators with whom the Commission corresponds. The provision of full information by the applicant at the outset will enable the Commission to commence its due diligence enquiries promptly.
- Financial services providers: We will expect Bailiwick-based contractual parties to undertake due diligence on applicants, their principals and senior officers before agreeing to act on their behalf. For some application types we will require submission of this due diligence with the application pack.
Before compiling an application pack it is essential that applicants understand the method of operation of relevant local laws, regulations, rules and guidance including the Bailiwick's anti-money laundering requirements and measures for combating the financing of terrorism. Links to relevant legislation on the States of Guernsey Law Officers website can be found under the industry-sector applications tabs.
We do not offer legal advice. Applicants should take relevant professional legal advice if they are uncertain as to the application of the regulatory laws. Professional advice may assist applicants in relation to:
- Permission: to consider if their proposed business requires regulatory permission;
- Sector: assess which sector of the regulatory laws may apply and give guidance as to the appropriate application form to complete;
- Service providers: suggest parties experienced in the nature of the business proposed;
- Routine or innovative: consider if proposed business constitutes routine business or contains significant elements of innovation and/or other factors that may need to be discussed with us in advance of an application submission;
- Professional compilation: assist applicants to submit fully completed application packs enabling the processing of the application with minimal delay.
All applicants must demonstrate that they meet minimum criteria; those applicants seeking to be licensed must review the relevant Minimum Criteria for Licensing appertaining to each industry-sector. The following criteria are illustrative but not exhaustive:
- Ownership: a transparent ownership structure;
- Fitness and propriety: of the controllers and principal officers of the entity;
- Capital adequacy: ability to meet solvency requirements;
- Mind and management: in the majority of cases a minimum of two principal officers, of appropriate experience with executive powers, who must be physically present to exercise control over the day-to-day operations of the business in the Bailiwick;
- Selectivity: suitable experience and a favourable track record in business equivalent to that to be conducted in Guernsey;
- Risk management: internal controls to mitigate against the risks to which the business will be subject;
- Resources: experienced staff, premises and systems to match operational requirements.
May be submitted without the need to contact Authorisations in advance.
The Commission is very much open to discussing innovative proposals and how they fit into our regulatory framework.
Applications are scrutinised with reference to the Commission’s risk-based minimum criteria. Risk-based assessment enables successful applicants to be streamed into on-going supervisory engagement after regulatory permissions have been issued. We liaise with the supervisory divisions routinely to ensure that an application can be supervised effectively if a regulatory permit were to be issued.
Quality of submission
Good quality, fully completed application packs speed application processing. No work will be conducted if the application fee has not been submitted: substantially incomplete application packs will be returned to the submitter for enhanced compilation.
We aim to process applications in a timely manner in the date order in which they have been received. If application pack content requires clarification or enhanced detail we will communicate with the applicant or their contractual service providers, as appropriate. While we await a response to our enquiries the application 'clock' will be halted and only resume on receipt of the requested information. Incomplete applications will not be referred to a decision-maker. Further detail is contained under sector-specific application headings.
Application delay or withdrawal
We realise that for varied commercial reasons an applicant may need to delay or withdraw an application. We welcome proactive, timely communication of any change of plans.
In order to maintain fair, proportionate and professional application processing, information must be current at the time of assessment. In the absence of any substantive response within three months from the date of our communication to the applicant or its service providers, we will close the application process archiving the records. Any subsequent request from the applicant to reactivate the application will require submission of a new application form together with all attendant documentation and the relevant application fee.