Financial services (German Industrial Code - Gewerbeordnung) - applying for a permit
Financial services companies are included in trades which require a permit. Since 1 January 2013, you must apply for a permit from the competent chamber of industry and commerce if you wish to offer certain financial services on a self-employed basis. If you already have a permit in accordance with § 34c of the German Commercial Code (Gewerbeordnung), transitional regulations apply to you (see under "other").
Please note: In case of partnerships without their own legal personality (for example GbR, OHG, KG), all managing partners require their own permit.
You require the permit if you provide investment advice for the following products or wish to broker contracts concerning the purchase of these investments:
- Share certificates of
- investment companies,
- investment share companies or
- foreign investment shares, which are publicly sold in the area of applicability of the German Investment Act (Investmentgesetz).
- publicly offered shares in closed funds in the form of a limited partnership
- other shares as defined in § 1 Paragraph 2 of the German Asset Investment Law (Vermögensanlagengesetz).
- Shares which grant a share in the profits of a company,
- Shares in assets which the issuer or a third party holds or administers on behalf of others (trust property)
- Shares in other closed funds
- Profit participation rights and
- Registered bonds.
Note: For other financial services, you may require a License for financial service providers in accordance with the German Banking Act. Please check which permit is necessary for your business before making the application.
The permit is valid in the whole of Germany and lasts indefinitely (if the authorities do not revoke it). It can be limited to one or more categories.
Tip: More detailed information concerning the permit procedures, checklists and forms can be found in the portal for finance brokers of the chamber of industry and commerce.
the Trade Supervisory Office ("Gewerbeamt")
The Trade Supervisory Office is,
- if your premises are in a urban district, the City Council (Stadtverwaltung)
- if your premises are in a rural district, the Rural district office (Landratsamt)
Natural and legal persons are able to make an application.
The requirements for the issuing of a permit are as follows:
- Personal reliability
As a rule, a person is not considered to be reliable if they have been subject to a judgement of a court of law in the last five years for one of the following breaches:
- Breach of trust
- Money laundering
- Falsification of documents
- Handing stolen goods
- Insolvency offences
- Controlled financial circumstances, which means that
- No insolvency proceedings are in force against you
- You are not entered in the list of debtors
- Proof of professional indemnity insurance
Minimum sum insured:
- 1,230,000.00 euros per insured event and
- 1,8500,000.00 euros for all other insured events.
- Proof of the necessary expert knowledge, possible through:
- Specialist examination by the chamber of industry and commerce or
- equivalent qualifications and, if possible, relevant professional experience.
Tip: The names of the qualifications which are considered to be equivalent to a specialist examination and for what time you may be required to demonstrate professional experience can be found in the leaflet New rules for investment brokers (Neue Regeln für Finanzanlagenvermittler) of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg.
The permit must be applied for at the chamber of industry and commerce which is responsible for you. You can obtain the necessary forms there.
The authorities will check whether your details and documents are correct. In order to prove the expert knowledge, you may be required to take a specialist examination at the chamber of industry and commerce. This is comprised of a written and practical component.
If the chamber of industry and commerce issues the permit, you will be automatically entered in the broker register.
- Completed application forms
- Certificate of Good Conduct
- Excerpt from the Central Trade Register
- Tax office certification in tax matters
- Proof that
- there are no entries in the debtor's files (Schuldnerverzeichnis) and
- no insolvency proceedings are pending
- Confirmation of insurance
- Proof of expert knowledge (for example certificates, proof of length of professional service)
- In case of legal persons, the associated extract from the commercial register
You can apply for the permit at any time. However, please keep in mind the different registration deadlines for the specialist examination at the chamber of industry and commerce.
For persons in possession of 34d/34e GewO permits (insurance brokerage and advice), special rules concerning the specialist examination apply. Please contact the chamber of industry and commerce where you wish to take the examination.
Varying fees will be incurred for the issuing of the permit and the specialist examinations. Please contact your chamber of industry and commerce directly.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Wirtschaftsministerium released it on 18.08.2016. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.