The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has opened its doors to those wishing to register for regulation, with online and telephone operations going live.
Firms wishing to register for direct authorisation can go to www.fsa.gov. uk/mgi or phone 0845 605 5525. Sarah Wilson, director of high street firms at the FSA, said: “Firms that want to become directly authorised by the FSA can register now to receive their application packs. This gives them a couple of months to consider the form, work out what they need to do and get any help they need from us. We then expect to start receiving completed application forms from mid-January.”
Wilson warned brokers looking to become appointed representatives that there was no guarantee the firms applying to be their principals would be sanctioned. She suggested these brokers speak to the FSA about becoming directly authorised as a precaution against their chosen principal failing to meet the required standards.
Wilson accepted it would not be easy for many firms, but said the FSA had delivered on its promise to give a clear 12 months between issuing the rules and beginning regulation, and so firms had time to get themselves into shape. She said: “We expect firms to have a clear plan for how they will be compliant and we have to have confidence in that.”
In assessing applications, Wilson said the FSA would not be making visits in every case, although the more complex ones may be looked into. She said there would now be no changes to the rules before regulation, although future amendments were under consideration. If changes were needed, she said they would go through the same consultation process that has been undertaken in the run up to Mortgage Day.
Wilson added that the FSA will be offering assistance in the form of regulation workshops and that 3,000 firms had already signed up for them.
The FSA expects to receive around 20,000 applications for direct authorisation from mortgage and insurance businesses, according to Wilson. If applications are successful, firms will be informed the FSA is “minded to authorise” them with the application being rubber stamped before 31 October. For those turned down, she said there would be an appeal process to contest the decision.