Authorisations, registrations and notifications in the financial markets

Operating or providing services in the financial markets is often regulated and subject to authorisation.

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Authorities granting authorisations comprise the European Central Bank (ECB), the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health as well as the Government.

Depending on the business model, activities may require authorisation, registration or notification.

Which activities require authorisation?

The table below provides information and examples on which activities require which kind of authorisation. More detailed information on authorisations granted by the FIN-FSA are available on the sector-specific pages.

 
Activity Authorising authority Authorisation
/registration
Example of activity

Credit institution activity

  • deposit bank or
  • credit organisation
Granted by the ECB on application made to the FIN-FSA Authorisation

Banking requires the authorisation of a credit institution.

The granting of loans requires the authorisation of a credit institution if lending is funded by customer deposits or other repayable funds raised by funding from the public. Hence, the mere granting of credit does not require the authorisation of a credit institution.

The provision of so-called payday loans and finance company activity are typically activities funded without funding by the public.

Activity of life, non-life and reinsurance companies FIN-FSA Authorisation

Insurance activities require an authorisation granted by the FIN-FSA.

Authorisations are granted by insurance classes and sub-classes in accordance with the Act on Insurance Classes. The authorisation may be restricted, on the applicant's request, to a specific part of an insurance class referred to in the Act.

The authorisation of a reinsurance company is granted, based on the applicant's request, either for the reinsurance of non-life insurance, reinsurance of life insurance or or all types of reinsurance activities.

Provision of investment service (investment firm) FIN-FSA Authorisation

Activities involving financial instruments as investment objects are considered provision of an investment service. Such instruments include equities, bonds, fund shares and many kinds of derivatives contracts. Investment services include securities brokerage, portfolio management, investment advice, underwriting of issues and the operation of an MTF or OTF venue.

Fund management activity FIN-FSA Authorisation Fund management activities, that is obtaining assets from the public for collective investment and the investment of these assets in accordance with specific diversification principles primarily in financial instruments.
Activity of alternative investment fund managers (AIFM) FIN-FSA Authorisation or registration

Management and marketing of an alternative investment fund (AIF). An AIF is an entity or other form of collective investment where assets are obtained from a number of investors and invested in accordance with a specific investment policy.

Custody activity

FIN-FSA Authorisation Operating as a custodian for a management company or AIFM.
Activity of payment institutions and electronic money institutions FIN-FSA Authorisation or registration The provision of a payment service is primarily subject to authorisation. A payment service comprises, for example, execution of payment transactions, issuance of electronic money (e.g. prepaid card), money remittance, a payment initiation service (PIS) and an account information service (AIS).
Mortgage credit intermediaries FIN-FSA Registration  
Crowdfunding intermediary FIN-FSA Registration

Intermediation of loan-based crowdfunding (operation of a crowdfunding platform).
Note! The intermediation of crowdfunding where the instrument is a security within the meaning of the Securities Markets Act requires an authorisation for the provision of an investment service.

Bondholders' representative FIN-FSA Registration

A bondholders' representative is a company representing investors towards issuers, that is, companies seeking finance.

Acting as a bondholders' representative requires registration if a prospectus approved by the FIN-FSA has or will be published on the bond, or application has or will be made to have the bond admitted to public trading on a regulated market or MTF.

Insurance agent FIN-FSA Registration Sale of insurance on behalf of an insurance company.
Insurance broker FIN-FSA Registration An insurance intermediary who is independent of insurance companies and works by order of customer.

Virtual currency providers

  • issuance of a virtual currency
  • exchange service
  • wallet service
FIN-FSA Registration A new virtual currency may be issued in conjunction with a so-called ICO (initial coin offering). On an exchange service, a virtual currency may, for example, be exchanged for legal tender or another virtual currency. Holding of virtual currency on behalf of another or offering to store or transfer it requires registration as a wallet service.
Securities and derivatives exchange activity Ministry of Finance Authorisation Operation of a regulated market.
Central securities depository (CSD) activity Ministry of Finance Authorisation  
Employee pension company Council of State Authorisation  
Unemployment fund Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Authorisation  
Peer loan intermediaries Finnish Regional state Administrative Agency Registration www.avi.fi
Fundraising Police forces and the National Police Board Fundraising licence www.poliisi.fi

 

Prerequisites for authorisation or registration

Authorisations and registrations falling within the FIN-FSA's remit are only granted when the entity seeking one meets the necessary regulatory requirements. A key precondition for authorisation is that

  • the entity seeking authorisation is managed in a professional manner and in line with sound and prudent business principles.
  • The entity must have sound internal governance and adequate financial resources.
  • Its business operations must be planned, managed, organised and controlled according to high professional and ethical standards.
  • The organisation must also have its headquarters in Finland.

The prerequisites for authorisation and registration are provided for in special legislation concerning each type of supervised entity and in Ministry of Finance decrees on applications for authorisation by the each type of entity.

Further information on the prerequisites for authorisation is also available in FIN-FSA regulations and guidelines.

Authorisation fees

The processing of an authorisation, registration and notification is subject to a processing fee under the schedule of processing fees.

An entity granted authorisation or entered in a register comes within the sphere of supervision by the FIN-FSA and is liable to pay a supervision fee. More information on authorisation fees can be found under Supervision and processing fees.


Q&A / Frequently asked questions on authorisations

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Which authorisations are granted by the FIN-FSA?

The table below provides information and examples on which activities require which kind of authorisation. More detailed information on authorisations granted by the FIN-FSA are available on the sector-specific pages.

 
Activity Authorising authority Authorisation
/registration
Example of activity

Credit institution activity

  • deposit bank or
  • credit organisation
Granted by the ECB on application made to the FIN-FSA Authorisation

Banking requires the authorisation of a credit institution.

The granting of loans requires the authorisation of a credit institution if lending is funded by customer deposits or other repayable funds raised by funding from the public. Hence, the mere granting of credit does not require the authorisation of a credit institution.

The provision of so-called payday loans and finance company activity are typically activities funded without funding by the public.

Activity of life, non-life and reinsurance companies FIN-FSA Authorisation

Insurance activities require an authorisation granted by the FIN-FSA.

Authorisations are granted by insurance classes and sub-classes in accordance with the Act on Insurance Classes. The authorisation may be restricted, on the applicant's request, to a specific part of an insurance class referred to in the Act.

The authorisation of a reinsurance company is granted, based on the applicant's request, either for the reinsurance of non-life insurance, reinsurance of life insurance or or all types of reinsurance activities.

Provision of investment service (investment firm) FIN-FSA Authorisation

Activities involving financial instruments as investment objects are considered provision of an investment service. Such instruments include equities, bonds, fund shares and many kinds of derivatives contracts. Investment services include securities brokerage, portfolio management, investment advice, underwriting of issues and the operation of an MTF or OTF venue.

Fund management activity FIN-FSA Authorisation Fund management activities, that is obtaining assets from the public for collective investment and the investment of these assets in accordance with specific diversification principles primarily in financial instruments.
Activity of alternative investment fund managers (AIFM) FIN-FSA Authorisation or registration

Management and marketing of an alternative investment fund (AIF). An AIF is an entity or other form of collective investment where assets are obtained from a number of investors and invested in accordance with a specific investment policy.

Custody activity

FIN-FSA Authorisation Operating as a custodian for a management company or AIFM.
Activity of payment institutions and electronic money institutions FIN-FSA Authorisation or registration The provision of a payment service is primarily subject to authorisation. A payment service comprises, for example, execution of payment transactions, issuance of electronic money (e.g. prepaid card), money remittance, a payment initiation service (PIS) and an account information service (AIS).
Mortgage credit intermediaries FIN-FSA Registration  
Crowdfunding intermediary FIN-FSA Registration

Intermediation of loan-based crowdfunding (operation of a crowdfunding platform).
Note! The intermediation of crowdfunding where the instrument is a security within the meaning of the Securities Markets Act requires an authorisation for the provision of an investment service.

Bondholders' representative FIN-FSA Registration

A bondholders' representative is a company representing investors towards issuers, that is, companies seeking finance.

Acting as a bondholders' representative requires registration if a prospectus approved by the FIN-FSA has or will be published on the bond, or application has or will be made to have the bond admitted to public trading on a regulated market or MTF.

Insurance agent FIN-FSA Registration Sale of insurance on behalf of an insurance company.
Securities and derivatives exchange activity Ministry of Finance Authorisation Operation of a regulated market.
Central securities depository (CSD) activity Ministry of Finance Authorisation  
Employee pension company Council of State Authorisation  
Unemployment fund Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Authorisation  
Peer loan intermediaries Finnish Regional state Administrative Agency Registration www.avi.fi
Fundraising Police forces and the National Police Board Fundraising licence www.poliisi.fi

 

When does one need authorisation for granting a loan?

The granting of loans also requires the authorisation of a credit institution, if lending is funded by customer deposits or other repayable funds raised by funding from the public. The mere granting of credit does not therefore require an authorisation of a credit institution.

The provision of so-called payday loans and finance company activity are typically activities funded without funding by the public.

What is required to receive authorisation?

Prerequisites for authorisation or registration

Authorisations and registrations falling within the FIN-FSA's remit are only granted when the entity seeking one meets the necessary regulatory requirements. A key precondition for authorisation is that

  • the entity seeking authorisation is managed in a professional manner and in line with sound and prudent business principles.
  • The entity must have sound internal governance and adequate financial resources.
  • Its business operations must be planned, managed, organised and controlled according to high professional and ethical standards.
  • The organisation must also have its headquarters in Finland.

The prerequisites for authorisation and registration are provided for in special legislation concerning each type of supervised entity and in Ministry of Finance decrees on applications for authorisation by the each type of entity.

Further information on the prerequisites for authorisation is also available in FIN-FSA regulations and guidelines.

What should an applicant do before filing an official application?
  1. Study the provisions and prerequisites concerning authorisations (regulations and guidelines) 3/2014, 6/2015, 3/2016 and 8/2016.   
  2. Review the activities your company is going to pursue and compare them to the requirements of the provisions.
  3. Contact FIN-FSA experts in charge of authorisation matters.
What should the application be like?

The application must be detailed, comprehensive, clear and include all accounts required (see regulations and guidelines 3/2014): Authorisations, registrations and notifications  (available in Finnish and Swedish). A carefully and expertly prepared application for authorisation supports the FIN-FSA's view that the company will be managed in a professional manner.

Is there a model application available?

The FIN-FSA has prepared an application form for those applying for authorisation of an investment firm and management company. The forms are available in Finnish and Swedish. The use of the application forms is voluntary. In addition, we have prepared instructions for applicants for authorisation of an investment firm and a fund management company. The applicant must note that the detailed content of the application and its appendices varies case by case.

For the time being, the FIN-FSA has not prepared application forms for applications for authorisation of credit institutions, payment institutions and insurance companies.

In which languages can an application for authorisation be made?

The application for authorisation must be submitted in Finnish or Swedish.

Any appendices to the application must also be primarily in Finnish or Swedish. Appendices prepared in other languages (e.g. in English) may be accepted, if necessary, subject to agreement in advance with the FIN-FSA expert processing the matter.

 

May appendices to an application be sent electronically?

The appendices to an application may also be submitted electronically. However, the submission is at the responsibility of the applicant, which means that the FIN-FSA does not assume responsibility for data security of the submission.

May one supplement an application?

The applicant may supplement an application at its own initiative during the application process. The FIN-FSA will also often request applicants to supplement their applications during the process.

The starting point, however, is that the application should be sent to the FIN-FSA as complete as possible. If the applicant already knows when filing an application that they will have to supplement the application by a special statement or if one of the accounts required for the application is missing, it is advisable to mention in the application the documents that will be submitted later.

May the FIN-FSA reject an incomplete application for authorisation

If the application for authorisation is incomplete, the applicant will be notified to supplement it by a deadline under threat that a non-supplemented application will be rejected. The applicant will be informed in the notice as to how the document is to be supplemented.

An incomplete application prolongs the processing period, which is neither in the interests of the applicant nor the FIN-FSA.

 

Is the application public?

As a rule, the application and its appendices are public. However, the application and its appendices may, for example, include information considered the applicant's business secrets. In this case, it is confidential (section 24(1)(20) of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities). The application for authorisation may also be kept confidential during the period it is being processed, if required by the applicant on the basis of business secrecy. The decision regarding authorisation is always public.

How long is the processing period of an application for authorisation?

Credit institution

The FIN-FSA must submit a draft decision on the authorisation of a credit institution to the ECB within four (4) months of receipt of an official application or, if the application has been incomplete, of submission by the applicant of documents and accounts necessary for deciding the issue. A decision must, however, always be made within twelve (12) months of receipt of the application.

Investment firm, management company and custodian

The FIN-FSA must issue a decision on the authorisation of a credit institution, management company or custodian within six (6) months of receipt of an official application or, if the application has been incomplete, of submission by the applicant of documents and accounts necessary for deciding the issue. A decision must, however, always be made within twelve (12) months of receipt of the application.

Carefully prepared and comprehensive application documents make the application process easier and more efficient both for the FIN-FSA and the applicant. When a project group processing the application has been established within the FIN-FSA, the expert in charge of the project may give a tentative estimate of the processing period, if possible.

Alternative Investment Fund Manager

A decision on authorisation of an alternative investment fund manager must be issued within 3 months of the applicant's submission of the necessary documents and clarifications. The FIN-FSA may grant, at most, a 3-month extension of the deadline for an authorisation.

Insurance companies

The FIN-FSA must issue a decision on the authorisation of an insurance company within six (6) months of receipt of an application and as well as any documents and accounts necessary for deciding the issue.

Payment institutions

The FIN-FSA must issue a decision on the authorisation of payment institution within three (3) months of receipt of an application and as well as any documents and accounts necessary for making a decision on the issue.

Foreign operators

There is no statutory deadline for the processing of an application for authorisation of an investment firm or management company, but as a rule, the FIN-FSA seeks to abide by the abovementioned schedule also in this context.

How can I contribute to the processing speed of an application?

Carefully prepared and comprehensive application documents make the application process more efficient and therefore faster.

Is there a cost to a decision on authorisation and supervision by the FIN-FSA?

All authorisations processed are subject to a processing fee. The processing fee is charged in connection with the decision given.

In addition, all entities supervised by the FIN-FSA are liable to pay a supervision fee. The supervision fee is charged on a calendar year basis.

The schedule of processing fees and supervision fee criteria are available on the FIN-FSA website under "Supervision and processing fees".