A recent poll carried out by Mortgage Solutions showed that 52% of 105 respondents waited an average of six to 12 months to receive authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
A further 30% of DA brokers had to wait three to six months for their application to be given sign off, while 14% saw the process take less than three months and for 4% it took over a year.
Information published on the FCA’s website notes that processing applications can take up to 12 months in instances where there are incompletions, but decisions on complete applications are aimed to be given within six months.
It reads: “We have an open approach to each application, and assess each case on its own merits. As a result there will always be variations to things like the length of time the process can take.”
Stephen Smith, director of housing partnerships at Legal and General, said life would be made easier for firms applying for DA permissions if the FCA set out realistic timescales for this to be achieved.
“The biggest challenge is the lack of clarity over how long the process is going to take. If your case is deemed to be complete then you could receive authorisation within six months, but the point is it could be anything from a month to six months and I don’t think that helps firms with planning.
“There are a number of other issues an adviser might have to deal with when making the transition to become DA, like putting in place professional indemnity insurance, implementing a point of sale system or creating a new business or compliance structure. If you knew a date that you were working toward, like most good business projects, it would give you a much better handle on how you manage your business.”
Mark Dyason, director at Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, explained that in his experience, the time taken to complete an application can often be down to the case officer that is assigned to a broker.
“The change of personnel when I was applying meant that the process was extended to 12 months, but in hindsight I don’t think I would have got it done any faster than nine months. However, because I wasn’t waiting on the ability to trade and wasn’t being prevented from earning a living, I perhaps wasn’t quite as motivated as others to push the FCA to get the process completed.”