Member firm membership
As a member firm of the IFA you:
- may describe the firm as a firm of “Financial Accountants”;
- may use the IFA logo;
- will appear in the Firm register on the IFA website which will be available later this year;
- will be supervised by the IFA for compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.
If you have shares or voting rights in an entity engaged in public practice, you need to carefully consider whether that entity meets the definition of IFA member firm.
An IFA member firm means a sole practitioner, partnership, limited partnership or body corporate which is engaged in public practice where more than 50% of the rights to vote on all, or substantially all, matters of substance regarding the firm are held by Members. This includes:
- a partnership engaged in public practice of which more than 50% of the rights to vote on all, or substantially all, matters of substance at meetings of the partnership are held by members; or
- a limited liability partnership engaged in public practice of which more than 50% of the rights to vote on all, or substantially all, matters of substance at meetings of the partnership are held by members; or
- any body corporate (other than a limited liability partnership) engaged in public practice of which:
i. 50% or more of the directors are members; and
ii. more than 50% of the nominal value of the voting shares is held by members; and
iii. more than 50% of the aggregate in nominal value of the voting and non-voting shares are held by members.
To be in public practice, an entity must provide accountancy services to clients for reward. The IFA’s Statement on Engaging in Public Practice which is included in the IFA’s Public Practice Regulations provides guidance on this area, including the types of services which the Institute would regard as accountancy services.
The IFA bye-laws require a member firm to:
- be bound by the Institute articles, bye-laws and regulations;
- pay the prescribed fees and subscriptions;
- submit an annual firm return to the Institute in such form and at such time as the Institute may prescribe;
- notify the Institute within 21 working days of any change of registered address or electronic mail address;
- notify the Institute that they no longer meet the member firm definition within 21 working days of the change;
- co-operate with any Institute arrangements for monitoring and review of their professional, regulatory, business efficiency and competence.
Member firm and annual return
Your firm’s annual return includes information on your firm’s details, structure and activities. Completing the firm return will enable the IFA to meet its regulatory and supervisory duties under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (MLR17) and ensures your firm is being appropriately supervised as required by the regulations.
The firm annual return must be submitted by logging on to your firm dashboard on the IFA website using your firm member number and password.
It is important that you complete and submit the firm return as failure to do so could lead to regulatory and disciplinary action being taken against your firm. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your firm’s return is submitted on time and that the information is complete and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.
How to notify the IFA of any changes
For regulatory and supervisory purposes, it is important that your IFA firm record is complete and correct.
You can notify the IFA of changes in your firm’s details and structure by:
- updating the information on your firm dashboard; or
- contacting us with details of these changes by emailing [email protected] or calling on 020 3567 5999.
In particular, due to regulatory and supervisory requirements, please note that you must notify the IFA within 10 working days of the following changes:
- firm’s details, offices and contact details (IFA Bye-Laws 5.1(d) under the new Bye-laws effective 1 Jan 2021)
- firm’s beneficial owners, offices and managers (BOOMs) (Money Laundering Regulations 2017 Regulation 26);
- firm’s provision of trust or company services (Money Laundering Regulations 2017 Regulation 54(2)); and
- contact details of the Money Laundering Compliance Principal (MLCP) within 14 days of appointment (Money Laundering Regulations 2017 Regulation 21(1)(a)).
Please note that the IFA must:
- Approve all beneficial owners, officers and managers (BOOMs) of IFA member firms engaged in public practice, including sole practitioners. The approval process seeks to ensure that no BOOM has been convicted of a relevant offence as set out in Schedule 3 to the MLR 2017. Individuals who have an unspent criminal conviction of a relevant offence cannot act as a BOOM. Further information is available at criminal records check.
- Notify HMRC of all member firms that perform Trust or Company Service Formation Services.
If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact the compliance team on [email protected] or call 020 3567 5999.