In most cases, any person who carries on a regulated activity in the United Kingdom by way of business must either be an authorised person or an exempt person. Otherwise, the person commits a criminal offence and certain agreements may be unenforceable. PERG 2.2 (Introduction) contains further guidance on these consequences.2
A person who is concerned to know whether his proposed activities may require authorisation will need to consider the following questions (these questions are a summary of the issues to be considered and have been reproduced, in slightly fuller form, in the flowchart in PERG 4.18):
will I be carrying on my activities by way of business (see PERG 4.3.3 G (The business test))?
if it is not the case that all of my activities are excluded, am I a professional firm whose activities are exempted under Part XX of the Act (see PERG 4.14 (Mortgage activities carried on by professional firms))?
If a person gets as far as question (8) and the answer to that question is 'no', that person requires authorisation and should refer to the FSA website "How do I get authorised": http://www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/Doing/how/index.shtml for details of the application process2.
An unauthorised person who intends to carry on activities connected with mortgages will also need to comply with section 21 of the Act (Restrictions on financial promotion). This guidance does not cover financial promotions that relate to mortgages. Persons should refer to the general guidance on financial promotion in Appendix 1 to the Authorisation manual, PERG 8 (Financial promotion and related activities)) and, in particular, to PERG 8.17 (Financial promotions concerning agreements for qualifying credit).