Joining ValidPath 

If you are serious about joining our growing network, there's a booklet we'd like to send you called 'Reflections'.  It sets out, in a series of simple one-page articles, an outline of what we are about, what we believe, how we charge, and why (or why not!) you might wish to be a Member.  If you'd like a copy of this booklet, please visit this page and enter your details.

It may be that you've passed beyond that point, and wish to now take steps to join us.  If that's the case, here is an outline of our three-stage process with its requirements.

Stage (1) - Authorising your firm

Step Description
1 Information about your business model, advice philosophy etc
2 Provision to ValidPath of Certificate of Incorporation, full details
3 Full credit/financial report for existing businesses, obtained by ValidPath
4 Individual ID verification, credit report & DBS check for all Principals
5 Completion of paper-based FCA Form A for all Principals
6 Online FCA application for new Appointed Representative by ValidPath
7 Wait for new AR firm to appear on FCA Register (usually around 7-10 days)
8 Signing of Appointed Representative Agreement by Principals of new firm
9 For existing/practicing firms, reference from previous Network, if applicable
10 For existing/practicing (intermediary) firms, declaration of past business
11 PII No Claims Declaration (or disclosures of past claims)


Stage (2) - Authorising Individuals

Step Description
1 The process of authorising individuals only commences once Stage (1) has completed.
2 A completed FCA Form A for each individual Adviser and Principal (paper copy with wet signature)
3 Full identity verification, credit-check and DBS check carried out by ValidPath on each Adviser (if not already conducted for Principals)
4 Current (ie. up to date) CV
5 Certified copies of all relevant qualifications, QCF Level 4 & upwards
6 Current SPS, if available
7 Copy of CPD Log, T&C Plan, if available
8 KPI data, if available
9 Professional referee (ValidPath to write)
10 Previous employer/network referee (ValidPath to write)
11 Personal referee (ValidPath to write)
12 Competence assessment
13 Past business assessment
14 Complaints Register extract
15 Online (FCA) application for authorisation under ValidPath is then made by ValidPath - we cannot do this until the AR Firm shows on the FCA Register
16 Approval on non-complex applications, or those with no previous history, generally takes 3-4 weeks.  For candidates with some 'issues' in their past, it may take much longer.


Stage (3) - Equipping

Step Description
1 Enabling all Principals & Advisers in respect of ValidPath web resources
2 Setting up a bespoke 'Clarity' practice management site for each firm, with the requisite number of users (incurs a £250 charge which is only recharged if the firm leaves within 5 years)
3 Set up each CF30 adviser with full access to DeFaqto Engage
4 Set up each CF30 adviser with full access to CashCalc (financial diagnostics, including lifetime discounted cashflow)
5 Set up each CF30 adviser with full access to ATEB Suitability (for generation of compliant suitability reports)
6 Provision of hard copies of core resources, including (but not necessarily restricted to):
  • ValidPath Marketing Cookbook
  • ValidPath Business Plan Document
  • ValidPath TCF Guide
  • ValidPath Guide to Fee-Based Advice
  • ValidPath Investment Proposition (CIP documentation)
  • ValidPath Guide to Professional Ethics
  • ValidPath Guide to Clarity (back office system)
  • ValidPath Independent Advice Framework
7 Creation of sub-agencies with relevant product-providers and wraps/platforms (New Firm confirms initial choices)
8 Initial induction training on:
  • Use of Clarity
  • ValidPath standards and expectations
  • ValidPath internal procedures

Explanatory Notes

  1. To ensure that the whole process does not take longer than it needs to, ValidPath will ordinarily aim to complete the bulk of our own requirements at the same time that we are handling the FCA's online application process;
  2. This means that we require the applicant's proactive cooperation in supplying as speedily as possible all items in the above checklists which are highlighted in green;
  3. None of the steps indicated under Stage (3) will commence until the previous two Stages have completed;
  4. We do not charge any up-front fees, not even in relation to new resources that we will have to pay for on behalf of a new Member Firm.  These overheads are simply factored into our Network Deductive, which we will already have quoted and agreed with you;
  5. The only possible initial charge would be levied by Bluecoat Software, and this would only apply if an existing firm opts to have a data-transfer from an existing back-office system into Clarity;
  6. ValidPath will not take over liabilities for existing clawback debts - and on an ongoing basis, our systems operate a clean accounting policy where neither party accumulates or sustains a debit balance for longer than a month.


Kevin Moss, 09/09/2015