According to the permission a firm has with us, it is allocated to fee-blocks. Fee-blocks categorise fee-payers together who offer broadly similar products and services, ensuring they pay fees on a similar basis. The definitions of the fee-blocks are based on sets of regulated activities.
The fee tariff-rates for each fee-block are in the FSA Handbook, in the Supervision Manual (SUP 20 Annex 1).
Any organisation applying to us for authorisation or recognition has to pay an application fee. We also charge an application fee where firms currently authorised seek significant variations to their permission. Application fees must be paid whether or not the application is successful and are not refundable. This reflects the fact that we commit resources to applications when they are received; so all applications have a cost to us regardless of their outcome.
Typically, applications from small firms such as independent financial advisers would be classed as straightforward. This reflects the fact that the typical permission profile of such firms would cause them to be allocated to either fee-block A.12 or A.13. Applications for the activities covered by these fee-blocks are deemed to be straightforward.
An authorised firm may seek to significantly vary their scope of permission, and that extension, if granted, may cause them to fall into new fee-blocks they were not allocated to before the variation. In these cases, a permission variation fee is payable. These fees are charged at 50% of the equivalent application fee for the new fee-block(s).
The main sections of the FSA Handbook relating to fees that small firms should be aware of are:
Firms should also be aware that in January of each year we produce a consultation paper indicating the proposed fee rates for the coming financial year (1 April - 31 March). The FSA Board makes the final fee rates for the financial year in May (with the exception of application fee rates, which are made in March, before the beginning of the financial year). Small firms should expect to receive a periodic fee invoice in June/July each year.