Registering a company
In the UK, Companies House is the organisation responsible for registration of businesses. Their website provides full information on how to register a business, documentation required and the fees involved. For more information please visit Companies House website.
The UK's financial services industry is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (the PRA), and the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA). Prior to 1 April 2013, it was regulated by a single organisation, the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The Prudential Regulation Authority is part of the Bank of England and is responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms. In total the PRA regulates around 1,700 financial firms. Its role is defined in terms of two statutory objectives: to promote the safety and soundness of these firms and, specifically for insurers, to contribute to the securing of an appropriate degree of protection for policyholders. In promoting safety and soundness, the PRA focuses primarily on the harm that firms can cause to the stability of the UK financial system. Therefore much of its work is focussed on the financial institutions and issues which pose the greatest risk to the stability of the financial system.
The Financial Conduct Authority is responsible for promoting effective competition, ensuring that relevant markets function well and regulating the conduct of all financial services firms to protect consumers and acting to prevent market abuse. (It regulates the conduct of approximately 26,000 firms, including those that are regulated prudentially by the PRA and those 'passporting' into the UK, from another EEA state). The FCA also has responsibility for the prudential regulation of (around 23,000) firms that do not fall under the PRA’s scope, such as asset managers and independent financial advisers.
Banking regulation: The regulatory requirements for a foreign bank setting up in the UK depend on its UK business structure and its principal regulator would be the PRA. A representative office does not require regulatory approval but it is not allowed to carry out any regulatory business eg taking deposits. Branch offices remain part of the parent company legal entity and would therefore principally be regulated by the home country authorities however they would still need to be authorised by the PRA. Subsidiary companies set up as an incorporated company in the UK would need to comply with EU capital requirements. In this case the subsidiary would be wholly regulated by the PRA.
It is recommended that firms requiring authorisation by the FSA consider professional advice and we would be happy to supply further information or put businesses in contact with professional advisors to assist with the process if required.
Tax in the UK is collected and managed by Her Majesty's Revenues & Customs (HMRC). The following information relates to financial year 2013-14. For further information, please visit the HMRC website
It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice to help you establish your business in the most tax-efficient manner.
Corporation tax: The main rate of corporation tax for UK businesses is 21%, however differing rates apply depending on the size of your business. You will be required to file an annual tax return for your company and pay tax accordingly.
Income tax: Employees are taxed on an incremental basis depending on their taxable income, which is income after deduction of Personal Allowances, currently £ 9,440 for individuals under the age of 65 years. Income tax is normally deducted automatically by employers when your salary is paid and is tax is paid directly to HMRC. The current rates are as follows:
£ per year
Basic rate: 20%* 0 - £ 32,010
Higher rate: 40%* £32,010 - £150,000
Additional rate: 45%* Over £150,000
There is a 10% starting rate for savings income only, with a limit of £2,790. If an individual's taxable non-savings income is above this limit then the 10% savings rate is not applicable.
National insurance: both employers and employees in the UK are subject to national insurance (ie social security) payments which are calculated as a percentage of the employee's gross pay. Employees (Class 1) earning more than £148 per week and up to £797 per week pay 12% on income earned between £148 and £797 and then a further 2% on weekly income above £797. Employers pay a standard 13.8% on weekly salaries above £148.
Capital gains tax: capital gains tax is payable by individuals at the rate of 18 or 28% (depending on the total amount of taxable income), although entrepreneurs' relief applies which reduces the tax payable to an effective rate of 10%.
Value-added tax (VAT): VAT is a tax charged on most business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions in the UK. VAT is also charged on goods, and some services, imported from places outside the European Union (EU) and on goods and some services coming into the UK from other EU countries. The standard rate of VAT is currently 20%. You are recommended to seek professional advice for dealing with VAT, and we can provide details of companies that will be able to offer this advice.
Migration and recruitment
- UK or Irish citizens, nationals of the European Economic Area or those have been granted leave to remain in the UK do not need a visa to work in London. The majority of migrants from outside Europe are required to apply under the points-based system in order to enter the UK for employment. Please visit the UK Border Agency’s website for the most up-to-date policies and further information. It is recommended that professional advice is sought to determine the most appropriate business visa type.
- Most employees of inward investors will apply to enter the UK as an intra-company transferee under Tier 2 (intra company transfer) or possibly as a skilled worker under Tier 2 (General) of our points-based system. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category also exists under Tier 1 for non-European high value migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses here. All salary requirements given below are before tax (gross) and yearly.
- Tier 2 (intra company transfer)
- This category is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their overseas employer to a UK branch of the organisation, either on a long-term basis or for frequent short visits. There are 4 sub-categories:
- Long-term staff: for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce;
- Short-term staff: for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for 12 months or less to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce;
- Graduate trainee: this route allows the transfer of recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation, as part of a structured graduate training programme which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role;
- Skills transfer: this route allows the transfer of new employees to a UK branch of the same organisation to learn the skills and knowledge required to perform their job overseas, or to impart their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.
- For long-term staff applying to enter under this category, the minimum salary requirement is usually £40,600 and for short-term staff, graduate trainees and skill transfer, the minimum salary requirement is usually £24,300. Acceptable allowances (including daily payments to cover the additional cost of living in the UK but not including expenses to cover travel to and from the employee's home country) can normally be added to their gross salary to meet the minimum salary requirements, provided these allowances are part of their guaranteed salary package.
Tier 2 (General)
- For the year from 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014, a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers can come to the UK under Tier 2 (General) to do a job (that cannot be filled by a settled worker) with an annual salary below £152,100. There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £152,100 or above.
- The following surveys provide an indication of average salaries for various roles in the financial and related business services industry:
Michael Page salary survey
The average rental cost of commercial property in the City typically ranges from £25 to £60 per square foot (sq ft) per year and depends on many factors such as the location in the City, the floor on which the property is located, the quality, configuration and identity of the property. The City offers a range of commercial property options to suit different business needs and when choosing the tenure of a property, businesses have the option to buy, rent or take serviced office space (paying an inclusive sum to cover all occupational costs e.g. rent, service charge, rates, utilities, insurance, telecoms, reception services, furniture and office equipment).
There are no grants or financial support available for firms setting up in the City of London (although specific research grants or tax credits may apply and financial assistance is available in some other regions of the UK).
We would be happy to provide a list of professional services advisors (accountants, lawyers, recruitment agencies, etc) for the service that you request, please email us to request this.
The City works in partnership with other organisations to ensure you get not only specialist financial services expertise but also the very best help and assistance you need to set up a successful business in the City. Our key partners include London Partners and UK Trade & Investment.
London and Partners
London & Partners is the official promotional agency for London, attracting and delivering value to businesses, students and visitors, combining the remits formerly held by Think London, Study London and Visit London. London & Partners connects international businesses to London, helping them set up, succeed and grow. Further information can be found at www.londonandpartners.com/business/
UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment is the specialist Government department that supports foreign companies seeking to set up or expand in the UK, and UK-based companies to trade internationally.
UK Trade & Investment provides a fully integrated advisory service, delivering the latest business intelligence through a global network of commercial teams worldwide. Further information can be found at www.ukti.gov.uk
India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFC - UK)
Following the Indian Government's announcement in the Budget for 2007-08, IIFC (UK) was set up in London, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited, which, in turn, is wholly owned by the Government of India. IIFC (UK)'s key aim is to further supplement financial resources for infrastructure development in India by providing long-term foreign currency loans to Indian companies implementing infrastructure projects in India.
'After carrying out an in depth study into five regions across the globe, we settled on the City of London as the ideal base from which to grow our business of providing long-term loans to viable infrastructure projects. With the City's transparent regulatory system and its enduring reputation as the world's financial capital, we feel comfortable doing business here and are proud to be contributing to both the British and Indian economies.'
N K Madan, Managing Director
FoxMandal Little became the first Indian commercial law firm to open an office in London in 2008. It practices Indian law solely, from its base at the heart of the City. FoxMandal Little assists UK and European companies to invest in India, as well as providing a full range of Indian legal services to Indian companies setting up operations in the UK.
'As India's largest law firm, we saw expansion into the City of London as a natural step. London is the world's leading financial centre and foreign firms are attracted here to take advantage of the unique global opportunities present here.'
Ajit Mishra, Partner
For more information on the City of London' inward investment work please contact:
Ben Cackett Head of Global Exports and Investment
City of London
(+44)020 7332 3645
City of London Beijing Representative Office
14/F China World Office 1
No.1 Jianguomenwai Avenue
Beijing 100004, China
(+86) 106535 0239
City of London Representative Office in Shanghai
38F Park Place
1601 Nanjing West Road
Shanghai 200040, China
(+86) 21 6032 1524
City Office in Mumbai
DBS House, Prescott Road
(+91) 22 64527244