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Number of FCA regulated firms set to soar in 2014

by: Carmen Reichman
  • 17/12/2013
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Number of FCA regulated firms set to soar in 2014
The number of firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to soar next year after the regulator assumes responsibility for supervising consumer credit activities.

The FCA received applications from 31,139 consumer credit firms for interim permission before its November deadline for the early bird discount.

The regulator currently supervises a total of 27,000 firms, putting it on course to double its supervision efforts, once it starts regulating the new applicants.

Advisers mainly need consumer credit permissions for giving mortgage advice, debt counselling or credit broking services.

However, they may also need the extra permission when charging their fees in installments over a period of time, as they may be entering a ‘credit agreement’.

FCA chief operating officer Leslie Titcomb said: “Over 31,000 firms have already registered for interim permission placing us well ahead of schedule as we move closer to 1 April, when the FCA takes over the regulation of consumer credit.

“To put that into perspective, there are 27,000 firms currently supervised by the FCA. This has been a significant challenge so we have made a huge effort to work with industry so firms are aware of the forthcoming changes.

“Firms that haven’t yet signed up for an interim permission have until 1 April to do so; we would encourage people to register sooner rather than later.”

All firms carrying out consumer credit services were required to apply for interim permissions before the they can apply for full authorisation in April next year, when the FCA takes control of the regulated activity from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Firms applying for interim permissions before December qualified for an early bird discount.

Firms that paid for a consumer credit license from the OFT will be eligible for a rebate, which is being administered by the FCA.

The regulator announced on Monday that it would tier the fees for authorisation based on the income a business generates from its credit activities, aiming to make it easier for small businesses to enter the market.

The FCA’s fees proposals are currently in consultation, which will close on 6 January.

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