A Part IV permission is granted by us to allow a firm to conduct one or more regulated activities. The permission states the activities that a firm may carry on and also specifies the designated investments that it relates to. Should your firm wish to alter the regulated activities it undertakes, or stop conducting them completely, you must apply to us for a variation, or cancellation of permission. Rules and guidance on this are in SUP 6.
A firm can apply to us to vary its permission if it wants to do one or more of:
If your firm intends to expand its business you should assess, taking appropriate professional advice where necessary, whether you will need to apply to us for a variation of permission before making any changes. If your firm is planning on varying its permission substantially, you should discuss these plans with your usual supervisory contact as early as possible. The supervisory contact for small IFA firms is the Contact Centre.
If your firm applies for a VOP to add new regulated activities, you should bear in mind that it is required to begin the activity within 12 months of being granted a variation of permission. We have the power to alter a firm's permission if it does not adhere to this rule, or if it ceases to provide a permitted regulated activity for a period of 12 months or more (regardless of when the permission was granted). We may also vary a firm's permission for other reasons, for example if it appears the firm is failing to satisfy the Threshold Conditions in relation to one or more of its regulated activities.
An application for a VOP should be made in writing and must contain a statement of the desired variation and of the regulated activity (or activities) that your firm proposes to carry on if its application is successful. Your firm should also explain the reasons and circumstances that have given rise to the request and include any additional information requested by your supervisor during pre-application discussions. You must address and deliver the application to us as explained in SUP 15.7.4 to SUP 15.7.6.
As soon as possible after receipt of the application we will advise your firm of any additional information we require. The amount of information we may request will depend on the scale of the variation and its complexity. We have 6 months from receipt to deal with a complete application. However, if the application is incomplete this is extended to 12 months.
We publish typical response times on our website, setting out how long the process is expected to take in practice. Also, from time to time, we will publish our performance against these times. You will find details of our performance against the service standards on our website by clicking on the following: 'Publications'; 'By type'; 'Annual reports'; 'Annual report 2002/03' (or whichever year is relevant); and 'The Performance Account' under the 'Additional information' heading.