top of page

'Use it or lose it': the permissions review

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

n January this year the FCA warned firms of their “use it or lose it” policy. This reminded firms that the FCA could cancel the regulatory permissions of firms who didn’t use their permissions within a 12-month period and asked them to review their activities accordingly.

This is ahead of the FCA receiving new powers which will enable them to take action more quickly .

The Financial Services Act 2021 (FS Act) has now given the FCA the power to cancel or vary permissions in a much shorter timeframe and has provided a more streamlined procedure when using this new power. Consultation Paper CP21/28 seeks feedback on changes to the Supervision Manual, the Enforcement Guide, the Compensation Sourcebook and to Dispute Resolution: the Complaints Sourcebook in relation to these powers.

Action to take

You need to review your scope of permission, as listed on the FCA register, and check that you are using all of the regulated activities listed.

If you have a Part 4A permission containing activities you do not use, the FCA expects you to remove this by varying your permission on the Connect System.

Equally, if you are undertaking no regulated activity at all, the FCA expects you to give up your FCA authorisation altogether.

Is there an upside?

If you find yourself thinking that this reminder may be relevant to your firm, know that there may be an upside.

Firms sometimes wish to retain permissions where they think they may use them again in future, but there can be costs savings and lower regulatory hurdles when your scope of permission is reduced.

New FCA powers

The new powers the FCA will receive through the Financial Services Bill, enables the regulator to serve notice to a firm when it is believed that they are no longer carrying on a regulated activity. If the firm does not provide a written response within 14 days, the FCA will publish a second, public notice, explaining it appears that the firm is not carrying on a regulated activity. After 1 month, the FCA will then vary or cancel the firm’s permissions.


If you need help assessing whether you are using your permissions or making applications when you note a change, do get in touch on


bottom of page