Skip to content

DA, AR or RI – which is the best route for your business?

Find Your Next Job

Which is the best route for your financial advice business?

Business development, marketing, tech support, compliance, regulation – when it comes to running your own financial advice firm, you might feel as if you’re being pulled in a thousand different directions. Thanks to growing pressure from regulators as well as the ongoing increase in professional qualifications following the Retail Distribution Review, the cost and stress of running an IFA business can no longer be ignored.

As a financial adviser, there are two routes you can go down: become directly authorised yourself, or becoming an appointed representative or registered individual for a directly authorised firm. But with so many considerations, how do you know which is right for you? From hidden costs and PI premiums to time constraints and IT support, we explore the different options as well as their pros and cons in this latest blog.

Direct authorisation, appointed representative or registered individual?

Choosing whether to become directly authorised or be an appointed representative is a big decision. Smaller or new financial adviser firms often choose to become an appointed representative or registered individual of an already FCA-authorised firm rather than becoming FCA-authorised in their own right, predominantly because of escalating requirements and the growing cost of compliance.  

An AR is basically a firm that carries out regulated business on behalf of another directly authorised one. They must still meet all FCA requirements and be thoroughly assessed and competent, but they don’t hold regulatory responsibility themselves. Instead, it’s the directly authorised firm that takes regulatory responsibility and is ultimately accountable. It acts as a kind of protective umbrella network and provides many benefits – especially when it comes to hidden costs, compliance, risks and regulatory changes.

Another option is to become a registered individual (RI). Rather than being an appointed representative or directly authorised, a RI works for a DA company on an employed or self-employed basis. As a RI, a percentage of all your work is often provided by the umbrella firm, which can be handy if you are new to the industry or if you are good at writing business but not so skilled when it comes to marketing. All regulation and compliance issues are taken care of, too – leaving you free to focus on winning new clients and writing new business.

Becoming and appointed representative

AR/RI advantages

Some of the advantages of becoming an appointed representative or being a registered individual include:

Save time

For starters, the process is much quicker. It takes six months to become directly authorised, and once you do, there’s a considerable amount of time and effort involved in recruiting and training your staff, all of which can take your attention off giving financial advice and winning clients. As an AR/RI, you can start writing business straight away.

Save money

It’s also cheaper: the cost of making an application for authorisation ranges anywhere from £1,500 to £25,000 depending on the complexity of the proposed business, and you also need capital adequacy of at least £20,000. Yes, as an AR you might need to pay fees, and on the surface, it may look cheaper to become directly authorised. However, it’s not just about the direct costs – there are also a number of hidden costs involved in becoming directly authorised such as IT systems, licenses, staffing and recruitment fees and compliance checks. Plus, you also have to factor in PI premiums and excess, DB transfers and FOS limits, in addition to regulatory and compliance burdens.

Becoming an appointed representative

Ongoing support

If you are directly authorised, it all comes down to you. However, in an AR/RI situation, the burden is shared. There is also ongoing compliance and business development support to ensure you consistently meet FCA compliance requirements, and you don’t have to waste time with Gabriel returns or time-intensive thematic reviews either. As an AR/RI, you will also benefit from ongoing training and development, enjoy direct access to a greater range of products, and have access to expert advice on specialist areas that you might need additional support in.

Focus on your clients

All of this means you can deliver a high-quality product tailored to your customers’ precise needs. It essentially frees up your time so you can focus on meeting clients, building professional introducers and networking. Your chosen firm will take care of administration and day-to-day business running so you can focus on what’s important – building your business and developing and nurturing long-lasting client relationships.

Becoming an AR/RI with 2plan

2plan is a national financial advice firm at the forefront of the competitive self-employed financial advice market. As one of the UK’s leading independent financial adviser firms, they allow their ARs/RIs to share in their success and have access to all the tools and services you need to reach your full potential. With over 200 professional advisers spread across the UK, 2plan aim to set new standards for the industry, empowering advisers and adviser firms to do what they do best with maximum support and minimum risk.

They offer FAs the choice to become an appointed representative or registered individual with the ability to be independent, restricted, or both. All of 2plan’s registered individuals benefit from an enhanced level of service, including access to an experienced central paraplanning team, a wide range of branded marketing collateral, technology and client servicing, management and more. Here are just a few of the benefits of becoming an appointed representative:

Training and adviser academy  

  • 2plan’s subsidised adviser academy provides finance and support to help build a team through recruiting, training and developing paraplanners, part-qualified advisers or mortgage advisers
  • Initial financial support available to cover the costs of training non-financial planning qualified candidates to become advisers and get them to Level 4
  • Additional ongoing training support and development workshops provide a chance to network with other advisers

Becoming an appointed representative

Software and technology

  • Efficient technology, seamless processes and outstanding support saves advisers £2,500 per month in extra costs in comparison to going directly authorised
  • 2plan’s own technology, back-office systems and IT team has been designed by financial advisers by financial advisers so writing business has never been easier, it can easily save you a day week in time.
  • Virtual paperless environment
  • They also provide phones, laptops and tablets, as well as 24/7 support

Compliance and regulatory services

  • 2plan’s training and competence scheme includes case checking for compliance as well as regulatory updates
  • Low PI cover, with an excess of £5,000 if a claim is made against the adviser as opposed to high premiums and an excess of £35,000-£50,000 for directly authorised advisers
  • 2plan will pay the excess if they agreed on the advice
  • A regularly updated and comprehensive library of regulatory and financial planning guidance
  • Additional regulatory/compliance support and research such as central paraplanning support, online model portfolios, online product and provider research

Client management

  • 2plan’s Personal Client Agreements provide clear, easy to understand information on a range of tailored fee/cost options to avoid any confusion
  • Enhance client relationships so you can build relationships based on honesty and integrity
  • Ensure high-value cases receive the highest level of research and expertise

Marketing support

  • A strong parent brand to add weight to your reputation and help with new business and recruitment
  • First year marketing costs covered
  • 2plan’s marketing support includes brand development, newsletters, PR, social media and website management and design

Back office support

  • 2plan’s unique virtual administration system (VAS) provides full admin support and an extra pair of hands on a pay-as-you-go basis
  • Eliminates the cost and complexity involved with employing extra admin staff
  • Paraplanning service ensures the highest standards of compliant and professional advice
  • Provides a safe environment and reduces the risk for clients, advisers and 2plan
  • Additional support from the centralised head office team includes compliance and risk professionals, regulatory gurus and DB pension experts

Case study: Ian and Andy Galston

Brothers Ian and Andy Galston became appointed representatives at 2plan a few years ago. When they were directly authorised and employed their own staff, it was a big energy drain and huge cost – but utilising the cost-effective VAS and paraplanner support, as well as the time-saving technology provided by 2plan, has simplified their lives and reduced overheads. Before, regulatory requirements were taking up all their time and keeping them up at night – however since joining 2plan, they have more free time to focus on writing business. The result? They’ve doubled their turnover, generated leads and have an improved work/life balance – and they’re no longer stressed or being kept awake at night!

“The process of moving to 2plan was seamless and we love being part of the 2plan family. We’re less stressed, don’t have to constantly worry about abiding by regulatory requirements, and can focus on what we do best – generating more business”

In conclusion, becoming an appointed representative or registered individual for a firm such as 2plan means you will benefit from the expertise and tools you need to grow your business with reduced regulatory risk, optimum cost-efficiency and access to technology that can streamline your procedures. All of this means you can operate at maximum efficiency with minimum risk, so you can free up your time and focus on what’s important.

Want to find out more? At Recruit UK, there’s nothing we don’t know about the FA industry. Many of our consultants are ex-financial services professionals themselves, putting them in a unique position to advise you on what’s best for you and your career. So whether you are thinking about starting out on your own and are looking to become an appointed representative, or are an AR thinking of becoming directly authorised, we can provide expert advice wherever you are on your journey. And unlike other recruitment firms, we can even introduce you to umbrella networks and firms such as 2plan to help find the perfect home for you. So what are you waiting for? Contact one of our team today to get the ball rolling.

Becoming an appointed representative

Find Your Next Job


Background: Recruit UK Limited understands that your privacy is important to you and that you care about how your personal data is used. We respect and value the privacy of all our customers and will only collect and use personal data in ways that are described here, and in a way, that is consistent with our obligations and your rights under the law.

1. What Does This Notice Cover?

This Privacy Information explains how we use your personal data: How it is collected, how it is held, and how it is processed. It also explains your rights under the law relating to your personal data.

2. What is Personal Data?

Personal data is defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (EU Regulation 2016/679) (the “GDPR”) as ‘any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier’. Personal data is, in simpler terms, any information about you that enables you to be identified. Personal data covers obvious information such as your name and contact details, but it also covers less obvious information such as identification numbers, electronic location data, and other online identifiers.

3. What Are My Rights?

Under the GDPR, you have the following rights, which we will always work to uphold:

a) The right to be informed about our collection and use of your personal data. This Privacy Notice should tell you everything you need to know, but you can always contact us to find out more or to ask any questions.

b) The right to access the personal data we hold about you.
c) The right to have your personal data rectified if any of your personal data held by us is inaccurate or incomplete.
d) The right to be forgotten, i.e. the right to ask us to delete or otherwise dispose of any of your personal data that we have.
e) The right to restrict (i.e. prevent) the processing of your personal data.
f) The right to object to us using your personal data for a particular purpose or purposes.

g) The right to data portability: This means that if you have provided personal data to us directly, we are using it with your consent or for the performance of a contract, and that data is processed using automated means. You can ask us for a copy of that personal data to re-use with another service or business in many cases.

h) Rights relating to automated decision-making and profiling: We do not use your personal data in this way

i) For more information about our use of your personal data or exercising your rights as outlined above. Further information about your rights can also be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you have any cause for complaint about our use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

4. What Personal Data Do We Collect?

We may collect some or all the following personal data (this may vary according to your relationship with us):

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Email address;
  • Telephone number;
  • Business name;
  • Job title;
  • Profession;
  • Information about your preferences and interests

5. How Do You Use My Personal Data?

Under the GDPR, we must always have a lawful basis for using personal data. This may be because the data is necessary for our performance of a contract with you, because you have consented to our use of your personal data, or because it is in our legitimate business interests to use it. Your personal data will be used for or may be used for one of the following purposes:

  • Providing and managing your account.
  • Supplying our services to you. Your personal details are required in order for us to enter into a contract with you.
  • Personalising and tailoring our services for you.
  • Communicating with you. This may include responding to emails or calls from you.
  • Supplying you with information by email and/or post that you have opted-in to (you may unsubscribe or opt-out at any time by emailing [email protected].

With your permission and/or where permitted by law, we may also use your personal data for marketing purposes, which may include contacting you by email and/or telephone and /or text message and/or post with information, news, and offers on our services. We will always work to fully protect your rights and comply with our obligations under the GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, and you will always have the opportunity to opt out.

6. How Long Will You Keep My Personal Data?

Due to the nature of recruitment, a significant number of candidates reconnect with our organisation periodically. It is not uncommon for this to occur years after we have placed them in a role. For this reason, your consent includes explicit consent to retain your personal details until you wish us to delete your records from our database or refrain from further engagement.

7. How and Where Do You Store or Transfer My Personal Data?

We will only store or transfer your personal data in the UK or elsewhere in the EU. This means that it will be fully protected under the GDPR.

  • We store all data in specific company applications unique to us
  • All application access is via secure password or biometric control
  • In line with our Data Retention Policy, your data is deleted once

a) we no longer have a relevant use for it
b) it has passed the relevant expiry date

8. Do You Share My Personal Data?

We will not share any of your personal data with any third parties for any purposes, subject to one important exception. In some limited circumstances, we may be legally required to share certain personal data, which
might include yours, if we are involved in legal proceedings or complying with legal obligations, a court order, or the instructions of a government authority.

If any of your personal data is required by a third party, as described above, we will take steps to ensure that your personal data is handled safely, securely, and in accordance with your rights, our obligations, and the third party’s obligations under the law.

9. How Can I Access My Personal Data?

If you want to know what personal data we have about you, you can ask us for details of that personal data and for a copy of it (where any such personal data is held). This is known as a “subject access request”.All subject access requests should be made in writing and sent to the email or postal addresses shown below.

There is not normally any charge for a subject access request. If your request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ (for example, if you make repetitive requests) a fee may be charged to cover our administrative costs in responding.

We will respond to your subject access request within 14 days and, in any case, not more than one month of receiving it. Normally, we aim to provide a complete response, including a copy of your personal data within that time. In some cases, however, particularly if your request is more complex, more time may be required up to a maximum of three months from the date we receive your request.

You will be kept fully informed of our progress.

10. Contact details

Contact us at [email protected]
Alternatively, you can contact us by writing to us at:
GDPR Compliance Officer
Recruit UK Limited
Newminster House
27-29 Baldwin Street

11. Complaints procedure

If you have a complaint about the way your data is stored or handled by Recruit UK Limited, please
contact us at [email protected]
Alternatively, you can contact us by writing to us at:
GDPR Compliance Officer
Recruit UK Limited
Newminster House
27-29 Baldwin Street

Escalated Complaints
If you remain unhappy with the handling of your data, you can complain to the ICO.
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

12. Changes to this Privacy Notice
We may change this Privacy Notice from time to time. This may be necessary, for example, if the law
changes, or if we change our business in a way that affects personal data protection.
Any changes will be made available on our website


Inclusivity and fairness are of paramount importance to us. Recruit UK embraces equality, diversity and inclusion and will seek to promote their benefits in all of its business activities. We will further develop our business culture to encourage, value and manage that belief. 

We intend to eliminate discrimination and encourage diversity amongst our workforce. Our aim is that our employees will be truly representative of all sections of society and each person feels respected and able to give their best.

Our policy purpose:

Not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation


Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes:

  • pay and benefits
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • dealing with grievances and discipline
  • dismissal
  • redundancy
  • leave for parents
  • requests for flexible working
  • selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities


Who is responsible for equal opportunities?

Achieving an equal opportunities workplace is a collective task shared between the employer and all its staff. This policy and the rules contained in it, therefore, apply to all staff of the employer irrespective of seniority, tenure and working house, including all employees, directors,

consultants, trainees, homeworkers and fixed-term staff and any volunteers or interns (referred to as staff).

All staff have a personal responsibility to ensure compliance with this policy, to always treat colleagues with dignity, and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff, visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former Recruit UK, employees.

Managers and Directors must take all necessary steps to:

  • Promote the objective of equal opportunities and the values set out in this policy.
  • Ensure that their own behaviour and those of the staff then manage complies in full with this policy;
  • Ensure that any complaints of discrimination, victimisation, or harassment (including against themselves) are dealt with appropriately and are not suppressed or disregarded.

Our Commitments

  1. Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  2. Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

    This commitment includes training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equality, diversity, and inclusion policy. Responsibilities include staff conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination.

    All staff should understand they, as well as their employer, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.

  3. Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others during the organisation’s work activities.

    Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.

    Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.

  4. Make opportunities for training, development, and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

  5. Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.

  6. Monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.

    Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality, diversity and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.

Agreement to follow this policy

The equality, diversity and inclusion policy is fully supported by senior management at Recruit UK.

Details of Recruit UK’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be found in the employee’s handbook. This includes with whom an employee should raise a grievance – usually their line manager.

Use of the organisation’s grievance or disciplinary procedures does not affect an employee’s right to make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of the alleged discrimination.

Achieve your career goals

Once you have the knowledge, soft skills, practical skills, and qualifications needed for pursuing a career in Financial Planning, we will provide you with guidance toward a suitable path to follow to achieve your career goals.
You can confidently apply for job opportunities with a high-quality CV knowing exactly where you sit within the market with inside intel about salary expectations, buzzwords for specific leading firms and referrals from experts you will meet along the way. You will also have the opportunity to utilize the Financial Planner Life recruitment services, giving you further specialized advice and putting you forward for roles which align with your intrinsic values and career goals.
Don’t put it on hold, join the community today and discover your potential.

Discover your path.

We understand that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to a career in financial planning, which is why we are here to make sure that you’re taking the right route into the profession.
We’ve calmed the process down so you can stay within your current company, start studying towards your qualifications and begin to get a real understanding of what the landscape of financial planning looks like in respect of your career.
Whether you have aspirations of being an employed adviser, running your own business or doing a more back-office focused role such as compliance, we can help guide and support you down the right path, matching your experience, your network and your intrinsic values.

Uncover your potential.

It starts with taking your qualifications and what we do within the community is support you to pass your qualifications first time. The Financial Planner Life community is all about supporting people’s different learning styles and taking into consideration life’s commitments such as finances, family and existing employment.
We believe in offering a personalised learning experience, which is why our program includes study support for industry-recognised exams. Our aim is to ensure that you are well-prepared to pass exams such as the CII-regulated diploma in financial advice, the CII Certificate in Mortgage Advice and the CII Certificate in Paraplanning.
Train to become a financial planner with the use of online resources, networking within the community with well-established professionals as well as frequent webinars and Q&As with Sam Oakes and industry-leading professional guests.
[Download the full academy prospectus here]

Connect with the Community

Welcome to the Financial Planner Life Academy where well-being, honesty and transparency are at the heart of what we do.
We’re here to support you on your journey into a career within the financial planning profession. Whether that’s administration, paraplanning, financial advice or even mortgage advice. Our expert trainers and community will support and educate you and train you to A, pass your qualifications and B, make the right decision about your first employment in the financial planning profession.
It could be going down the route of being restricted, or becoming an IFA, you may even have aspirations of running your own business! But what does that look like?
We understand that from the outside looking in, it can be daunting to find the correct route into the profession to become a financial planner. The Financial Planner Life Academy is completely independent, allowing you to connect with hundreds of financial planning professionals with different backgrounds, at all levels of experience.
You will learn all about the different options you can take, mentored by a diverse mix of professionals so you are equipped with the essential toolkit to be able to make an informed decision about your career path within financial planning.

Apply for this position - DA, AR or RI – which is the best route for your business?

Name of individual registering
Max. file size: 100 MB.
Do you currently work in financial services?(Required)
Recruit UK is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, and we’ll only use your personal information to administer your account and to provide the products and services you requested from us. From time to time, we would like to contact you about our products and services, as well as other content that may be of interest to you. If you consent to us contacting you for this purpose, please tick below to say how you would like us to contact you:
In order to provide you the content requested, we need to store and process your personal data. If you consent to us storing your personal data for this purpose, please tick the checkbox below.

Apply for this position - DA, AR or RI – which is the best route for your business?

Financial Planner Life

Academies sign up