UK legislation

The information on this page relates to UK legislation under The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Claims Management Activity).

If you’re working as an independent HR consultant in the UK, and advising or representing someone who’s involved in a dispute with an employer, you must seek authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to register yourself as ‘claims management company’. This applies to advice to individual claimants only - you do not need to do this if you are advising employers on claims against them.

What is a claims management company? 

Claims management companies act on behalf of individuals to help them make a variety of claims – they represent the individual and deal with whatever organisation they are claiming against. According to the UK’s Financial Services and Markets Act, claims management companies need to be authorised by the FCA in order to undertake such activities (you can find a definition of what’s covered by this in the legislation). By regulating these activities, the FCA aims to ‘boost consumer protection and the professionalism of the sector by driving up standards in the industry’.

Does an independent HR consultant need to be authorised by the FCA to advise on claims? 

Yes. Anyone acting for or advising an individual - and charging for it - regarding an employment-related dispute or conflict must be authorised by the FCA to do so (because they are acting as a claims management company by acting as an intermediary between the employee and their employer). The FCA’s Regulated Activities Order lists a number of exclusions but these are unlikely to apply in most cases when an individual is consulting with you regarding their employment rights. However, providing services like coaching or CV support would be unlikely to fall within this scope.

What if I am just supporting individuals to raise a grievance or negotiate a settlement? 

If you are charging for your advice, this would still require you to be authorised as there could still be a potential claim against the employer. 

How can I achieve FCA authorisation? 

To become authorised as a claims management company, you need to submit an application to the FCA, including a detailed business plan. You will also need to pay an application fee (£1,200 for smaller companies) and then an annual fee to maintain your authorisation. These fees are to cover the FCA’s regulatory activities on claims management. Full details of the business plan requirements, application process and fees can be found on the FCA website.

What if I don’t get authorisation? 

If you fail to gain authorisation and continue to support individuals in making claims, you risk enforcement action from the regulator and would be committing a criminal offence. 

Can I advise companies regarding potential claims against them? 

Yes, the regulation covers representation and advice to claimants only. If part of your business involves advising companies on employment tribunal claims against them, you do not need to register as a claims management company.


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