FCA Compliance Consultant – How To Choose The Right Consulting Partner

It is important to choose the right consulting partner when seeking external assistance to help with consulting, compliance, licencing or related services.

Below we discuss the most important factors when choosing an FCA compliance consultant for banking, payments and e-money.

1. Expertise and Specialism within Banking, Payments and E-money

Banking, e-money and payment services are a specialist field, requiring prior expertise, knowledge and a specialist focus. You should ensure that your consultant specialises in this area as opposed to generalising in it. They should be comfortable explaining the technical aspects of this field, such as providing technical and regulatory requirements for licence authorisation. The financial regulator will have conditions and expectations regarding different aspects of the application. For example, shareholders and management should be fit & proper, of good repute and have relevant experience and knowledge. A good consultant should be able to advise you on the regulatory requirements early on in order to manage your time effectively and minimise any delays or wrong decisions. It should your consultant’s role to guide and advise you on best practices and the regulatory requirements. For example, we spend time advising clients from an early stage, in fact during the initial meeting and prior to taking on their project, of such requirements so that they are able to make an informed decision before investing their time and money.

2. Ability to access banking products and services

Setting up an e-money, payment or banking fintech goes beyond the scope of obtaining a licence. You will require specialist banking facilities, such as client safeguarding accounts, and access to payment systems, such as SEPA and Swift. Furthermore, you will require systems and software to manage your fintech business. It is therefore important that your consulting partner has a strong network of connections with banks, technology partners, regulators, and other partners. For example, by working closely with partners, such as Visa, Mastercard, Wirecard, and central banks, we are able to help clients by arranging banking facilities, such as safeguarding accounts, issuing cards, and access to payment infrastructures, such as SWIFT and SEPA.

3. Communication

Communication between a consultant and their client is extremely important. In the context of preparing an authorisation licence application, the process should be a two-way approach. They should be open to meeting you if required or to discuss your project during an initial meeting. For example, we hold weekly telephone or conference calls with our clients to discuss the progress of their licence authorisation application or related project. This helps the client to understand the progress on their application and report key information and developments to their management team or board.

4. International approach