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As a team of 70 + financial industry specialists, compliance consultants, ex regulators, and lawyers - we speak compliance so you don’t have to

We believe in doing, not delegating. Covering risk is one thing, but a commercial mindset is everything.

We will keep your organisation moving forward with transparent advice and hands-on support. To guide you through the journey of compliance, from beginning to end and beyond.


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History and milestones
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2014
  • 2020
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2022
About us - website Picture

“After spending several years in the financial services recruitment industry, I joined Thistle Initiatives in 2015 to collaborate closely with James Dingwall on the company's development. Before taking on the role of Group Managing Director in 2021, I was the group's Director of Business Development for five years.

Being part of the leadership team for many years, I'm grateful to the individuals who have helped the Group grow so successfully. As I begin my new chapter as CEO, I reflect on 2015 and the motivation behind joining Thistle. No matter how big or small, Thistle Initiatives has a real impact on the lives of our clients and consumers of financial services. We are dedicated to helping our clients navigate compliance by offering practical, commercially focused guidance. 

People have always been my passion. Our people are what make the Thistle Group so special, both to work with and for our clients. We are constantly learning and growing, never afraid to step into new markets, which drives fantastic results.

As we move forward and continue to offer a high calibre of services to financial services firms, I look forward to Thistle's future development and success. The firm belief that Thistle Initiatives can be much more than a compliance consultancy is what motivates our employees. We think creatively, commercially with a results driven mindset to add value to every project we undertake.

The outstanding team we have in place at Thistle Initiatives is the key to our success in supporting clients through numerous M&A transactions, supervision, enforcement, tribunals and FCA authorisations. We have a mindset that mixes problem-solving with a business-oriented approach to provide the finest level of service, and I'm equally proud of that.

Thistle Initiatives has grown to become one of the top financial services compliance consultancies in the UK with the addition of ATEB Compliance, and ATEB Suitability to the portfolio. Together, we provide a wide spectrum of financial services business sectors with reliable compliance services, solutions, and support.”

Sophie Long, CEO

Association of Professional Compliance Consultants (APCC)

We are one of the largest members of the Association of Professional Compliance Consultants (APCC).

The APCC is the body that represents compliance consultancies advising FCA regulated firms in the UK, promoting high professional standards and setting best practice guidance for members to follow.

We often work with the APCC to pilot or test new initiatives and provide feedback on a range of topics. This relationship increases our access to the FCA, greatly benefiting our clients.


Associate Members of The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA)

We are associate members of The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) which is the trade association for firms that provide wealth management, investment services and advice to everyone from individuals and families to charities, pension funds, trusts and companies. 

Associate Members of The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA)

The Payments Association

We are Leader Members of The Payments Association. The Payments Association (previously the Emerging Payments Association, or EPA) is a community for all companies in payments, whatever their size, capability, location or regulatory status. Its purpose is to empower the most influential community in payments, where the connections, collaboration and learning shape an industry that works for all. It works closely with industry stakeholders such as the Bank of England, the FCA, HM Treasury, the PSR, Pay.UK, UK Finance and Innovate Finance. 

Through its comprehensive programme of activities and with guidance from an independent Advisory Board of leading payments CEOs, The Payments Association facilitates the connections and builds the bridges that join the ecosystem together and make it stronger. These activities include a programme of monthly digital and face-to-face events including an annual conference, PAY360, The PAY360 Awards dinner, CEO roundtables and training activities.  

The Payments Association also runs seven stakeholder working project groups covering financial inclusion, regulation, economic crime, cross-border payments, open banking, digital currencies and ESG. The volunteers in these groups represent the collective views of the industry and work together to ensure the big problems facing the industry are addressed effectively. The association also conducts original research which is made available to members and the authorities. These include monthly whitepapers, insightful interviews and tips from the industry’s most successful CEOs. 

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Partners we work alongside

We partner with trusted organisations that can support your growing business

As well as referring clients to our partners, we also accept client referrals from complementary businesses. Do you have a client who needs our help? We are happy to chat.
Charity work

We regularly raise money for causes that are close to our heart. We love working alongside our clients and colleagues, to bring awareness and much-needed financial support to charities all over the UK.

Three Peaks Challenge 2021
MIND charity
Crisis charity