France’s financial regulatory body, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), said on Wednesday it is, together with the Autorite de Controle Prudentiel et de Resolution (ACPR), simplifying and speeding up the licensing procedures for financial service providers licensed in the UK. The move is triggered in the context of Brexit as the French authorities are preparing to British-based institutions that wish to locate their business in France.
The UK voted on 23 June, 2016, to exit the European Union (Brexit), causing markets to experience deep volatility and the British pound (GBP) to fall sharply on the Euro (EUR) to its lowest in more than 30 years. Financial institutions across the EU, and in the UK in particular, are facing significant challenges as a result of the Brexit vote. A license issued by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) currently provides admission to all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), but soon FCA license holders will loose access to these markets.
UK-regulated financial companies that want to apply for a license with the relevant authorities in France, can attach to their filings documents already available in English such as forms that have been submitted to the supervisory authorities in the home country and papers concerning a branch whose business will be taken over by the subsidiary firm.
“Against this [Brexit] background, some institutions operating under the passport mechanism may decide to establish an insurance company, investment firm, payment institution or an electronic money institution licensed and supervised by the ACPR to carry out activities that are currently conducted in France through branches or directly from the institution’s home country (freedom to provide services),” the AMF said in a statement.
The AMF will set up an English-speaking contact point to guide license applicants through the French procedures. Meanwhile, the ASPR has a separate page on its website with standardized license application forms, including such in English.
Both the AMF and the ACPR have also set up e-mail boxes for enquires related to the authorisation in France of companies based in the UK. The AMF has a special service called 2WeekTicket for pre-authorisation procedures which allows firms to begin the process of opening offices in France in just two weeks.
Some notable forex brokers that hold a license in the UK are Forex Capital Markets (FXCM), FxPro, Gain Capital, HYCM, XM, FxOpen, Trading 212, and others.
The AMF, an independent public authority, is in charge of the supervision of the financial markets in France. It licenses financial service providers, sets industry rules, and monitors whether entities comply with them. The regulator makes sure French citizens receive adequate information and safeguards their investments in financial products.
The ACPR is in charge of the supervision and regulation of the banking and insurance sectors in France. It make sure of the stability of the financial systems of those it supervises, as well as the protection of their customers, insurance policyholders, members and beneficiaries.