FCA appropriateness rules
FCA appropriateness rules

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • FCA appropriateness rules
  • Background to appropriateness requirements
  • When does the appropriateness test apply?
  • Application of appropriateness requirements for non-MiFID, non-IBIP and loan-based P2P activities
  • Application of appropriateness requirements for MiFID, and IBIP activities
  • Assessing appropriateness
  • Exceptions to the appropriateness test?
  • Form of the appropriateness test
  • Warnings that a product or service is not appropriate
  • Record keeping
  • more

BREXIT: As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Notes: The impact of Brexit on the MiFID II regime, Impact of Brexit: UCITS—quick guide and Impact of Brexit: Insurance distribution-quick guide.

Background to appropriateness requirements

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rules on ‘appropriateness’ and the appropriateness test (which are contained in chapters 10 and 10A of the FCA's Conduct of Business sourcebook (COBS) were originally introduced under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Directive 2004/39/EC) (MiFID) with the aim of increasing investor protection in the non-advised market. The objective of the test is to help firms determine whether their clients have enough knowledge and experience to understand the risks involved in a product offered or service demanded. Knowledge and experience have to be assessed in a way that is appropriate to:

  1. the client in question

  2. the service, and

  3. the product

MiFID (Directive 2004/39/EC) has been replaced by the recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Directive 2014/65/EU) (MiFID II Directive) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation (EU) 600/2014) (MiFIR) (together the MiFID