Generally speaking, a limitation limits, in some way, a particular regulated activity. Unlike requirements (see AUTH 3.7), each limitation is specific to a particular regulated activity (either to the specified activity, the specified investments or both). This is why the Act refers to a limitation being incorporated within the actual description of the regulated activity.
As part of its application for Part IV permission, an applicant may wish to apply for certain limitations (details of which are given in the application pack). Alternatively, the FSA may impose a limitation where it considers it appropriate after reviewing the application. Examples of limitations which may be applied for or imposed include:
a limit on the types of client that a firm may deal with; this would be used either where an applicant's business plan makes it clear that it only intends to provide services for specific types of clients (for example, see AUTH 3.6.4 G) or where the FSA wishes to limit the types of clients a firm can deal with; or
a limit on the number of clients with whom a firm may carry on a particular regulated activity during, for example, an initial period of operation; this might be used where, for example, a firm's systems are not yet adequate to be able to process a high volume of transactions; or
a limit on the types of specified investments that a firm can deal in; this would be used either where an applicant's business plan makes it clear that it only intends to provide services in respect of certain specified investments or where the FSA wishes to limit the categories of specified investments a firm can deal with; or
a limit on the type of insurance business which a firm may carry on in connection with certain categories of specified investments for which Part IV permission may be granted; for example, a limitation specifying that only reinsurance business may be carried on in relation to certain specified investments; (note that for direct insurance business, the Insurance Directives restrict the ability of the FSA to impose limitations on an individual class of specified investment).1
In relation to the carrying on of designated investment business (and related ancillary activities, including communication and approval of related financial promotions), COB 4.1.4 R (Requirement to classify) requires a firm to classify a client before conducting designated investment business with him or for him and that classification is relevant to the application of Principles 6,7,8 and 9. The classification of clients is used to apply appropriately differentiated market conduct and conduct of business provisions based on the expertise of the different clients. An applicant may, therefore, wish to apply to carry on designated investment business in respect of one or more of the following classifications:
As explained in PRIN 1.2.4 G, a firm carrying on business other than designated investment business may choose to distinguish between customers and market counterparties in complying with the Principles. An applicant may, therefore, wish to apply to carry on business only with market counterparties.
In relation to accepting deposits, the limitations which may be applied for or imposed include a limitation that the firm may accepting deposits from wholesale depositors only. A firm with such a limitation may receive less intensive supervision by the FSA, because of the reduced risk it poses to the regulatory objective of protecting consumers. However, the precise arrangements that would apply would be determined case by case and would be based on an assessment of the risks the firm posed to all four of the regulatory objectives. 2
If, after reviewing an application, the FSA proposes to impose a limitation, the applicant will be advised formally (that is, the applicant will be sent a warning notice) and given an opportunity to make representations before the FSA reaches a final decision. For an overview of how the FSA determines applications and a summary of the FSA's decision-making procedures, see AUTH 8 (Determining applications).