How to claim compensation if a firm fails

If a financial firm goes out of business and owes you money, you may be able to claim compensation. Find out what steps you should take to get your money back.

First published: 18/04/2016 Last updated: 03/05/2023 See all updates

When a firm goes out of business, it can be a worrying time for customers.  

While we try to make sure that the failure causes as little disruption as possible, you could still end up losing: 

  • your money or assets 
  • access to your money 
  • a service you’ve paid for 

If you’re not sure what to do next, follow these 4 steps to claim compensation. 


Check if the firm is or was authorised

Check our Financial Services Register to find out if the firm is or was authorised.

If the firm was never authorised, you won’t have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and you may not be protected if it goes out of business.


Find out if the firm is still trading

If an authorised firm is still in business, you’ll need to make a complaint to the firm if you think you have a claim. You may be able to find out if a firm is still trading by:

  • visiting the firm's website
  • checking Companies House
  • calling or writing to the firm

Contact the firm directly

If an authorised firm has gone out of business, try and contact them to make a claim.

If you can’t contact the firm, you may be able to contact the insolvency practitioner. An insolvency practitioner is someone who acts on behalf of a failed firm. They’re often known as administrators.

You may be able to find out who the insolvency practitioner is by checking the firm's website.

warning iconTreat any unexpected calls, emails or texts from firms or insolvency practitioners with caution. Don't assume they’re genuine, even if the person seems to know some basic information about you. Always check the contact details in the FS Register and protect yourself from scams.


Contact the FSCS

If the firm can’t pay claims against it, or if you can’t get in contact with the firm or insolvency practitioner, the FSCS may be able to pay compensation. 

The FSCS protects customers of authorised financial services firms that have failed. It’s free to use, and the team can support you to make your claim. 

You can check if you're eligible by visiting the FSCS website. 

FSCS: Check if you can claim

Find out about FSCS compensation limits.  

Some firms and activities aren't covered by the FSCS (for example, high-cost short-term credit, money held with e-money institutions, authorised payment institutions and small payment institutions).  

Using claims management companies (CMCs)

It’s free and simple to make a claim yourself and the FSCS will support you if you’re concerned about where to start. A CMC can make a claim for you, but you’ll have to pay a fee.

If you're thinking about using a CMC, find out what to expect.

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