I guess that I should be clear what I mean when I say ‘Appointed Representative Network’ or ‘AR’ as it will be easier to retype many times here!
An Appointed Representative in financial services is a person or company that is authorised to carry out specific types of activity under the regulatory umbrella of a firm that is directly authorised by the FCA.
Why might you do that rather than be directly authorised yourself? Headline reasons are cost, together with monitoring, administration and reporting activities that comes with direct authorisation, and for which you are wholly responsible as an FCA directly authorised firm.
So as an AR of a company that is themselves directly authorised, your costs are lower and most if not all of the administration of your authorsation falls to your network provider – BUT that is not to say that you don’t have obligations to uphold.
As an AR network provider we are vouching for the person and firm that is an AR of our network – that you are solvent, reputable and trustworthy, and that you will uphold the regulations relating to the area in which you operate and carry out your business in a compliant manner.
In short, it’s our neck on the block!
Our own authorisation and reputation are affected by your conduct as an AR – so therefore we put the time in to ensure that:
- you are trained in both our approach to clients and the areas in which you will operate.
- each case is conducted in a compliant manner.
- you access the necessary CPD and compliance training annually.
The most common examples in the UK of AR networks are in residential mortgage broking. There are multiple network providers in residential mortgages – underlining how well the process works, and we see examples of one man bands up to 40 or 50 advisers where the model is beneficial to the business.
We have the good fortune to work with one of the largest, and in our (slightly biased?) opinion best, residential mortgage networks in The OpenWork Partnership. We are one of only a couple of partners that their ARs can introduce Commercial Finance cases to.
Which in turn brings me to our own AR network – the Fiducia Commercial Finance AR Network – and back to my original question: What should an AR network mean for you?
To us it means a partnership and collaboration – we have a vested interest in ensuring that:
- you are trained fully in all aspects of your role.
- you are aware of your compliance obligations, and you have the tools and systems to carry them out.
- you keep current in updates and changes in the commercial finance market and products.
The partnership and collaboration goes beyond the set up, induction and kick off of your AR activities; we have a USP as an AR network provider that positions us head and shoulders above most of the market – we do the same job that you do!
Beyond the compliance, administration, finance and systems support that you receive as an AR, your membership of the network should provide you with the business support that you need from when you start out to when you are established but working on complex cases.
We are not a commercial finance brokerage that has just set up an AR network as a sideline without putting in the ongoing and long-term support.
We are not a franchise that takes a large up front payment in return for a couple of webinars and a manual that points you towards your promised six-figure salary – because believe me if it was that easy then that’s where I would be and not blog writing this weekend!
We are not ‘working the numbers’ and just getting as many people through the door because then dissatisfied leavers don’t affect us too much.
We are commercial finance brokerage that works with our ARs to provide them with the tools and support to enable them to help their clients – and not just at the outset, but on an ongoing basis.
Especially in the current period of recovery, and what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic behind us, support from a team experienced with getting deals over the line that aren’t always straightforward could be the difference to being a successful AR.
That’s what being part of the Fiducia AR Network means for you – being part of something bigger that you can lean back on for support in multiple ways whenever you need to. We share your goal of wanting you to be a successful commercial finance broker – as an AR of The Fiducia Commercial Finance Network.
Mark Grant, July 2021.
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