- Regulation of banks — Authorisation — UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) — UK Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
This chapter explores the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) approach to the authorisation of international banks and (re)insurers. EEA banks and (re)insurers seeking to maintain a UK presence post-Brexit once passporting ceases must apply for authorisation from the PRA to operate either as a branch or a subsidiary—in common with other overseas or third country banks from outside the EEA. Authorisation applications will be determined by the PRA in consultation with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which already regulates passported EEA bank and (re)insurer branches for conduct of business purposes. (The FCA is the primary licensing authority for most UK and overseas financial sector firms, other than banks, (re)insurers, and certain systemically important ‘designated’ investment firms.) A branch may be the preferred route for many overseas firms. In practice, however, the PRA will decide whether a branch structure is acceptable. The availability of the branch route will depend on whether the proposed UK business model falls within the PRA’s stated risk appetite for branch authorisation. If it does not, it may require the application to establish a separate UK subsidiary. The FCA is currently reviewing its approach to the authorisation of all overseas firms and intends to consult on its approach to branches and subsidiaries (including its expectations on the need for a physical presence in the UK).
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