It might sound trite, to compare making an application for authorisation to a magic trick; yet if you are under any impression that less-than-perfect preparation is good enough, take heed. Sarah Rapson, director of authorisations at the FCA said that, “We have begun to take a harder line on submissions that border on the vexatious.”
Of course, it’s hard to know what others identify as vexatious. Maybe almost anything from mildly bothersome to properly annoying or completely exasperating. If indeed there’s a scale at all!
The good news is, the FCA has indeed given us a number of clues.
When examining an application, your case officer is practically contemplating three things.
To start with, they seek out indicators of what you’ve carried out when preparing your application. So they want to know factors like whether or not you’ve read the details on the FCA website, made enquiries of the contact centre, or looked for legal or professional compliance advice. They also judge your application on how distinctly you’re able to articulate your regulatory obligations.
Next, they consider your attitude during the application process. (I’m sure they didn’t mean that to sound quite the way it does). They judge whether you’re being open and honest with them and positive about procuring information for them. They also want to see that you understand your regulatory obligations and answer rapidly to any questions they have about your application.
Third, they want to make certain you have your supporting documentation completely ready and arrangements in place to comply from the first day you become authorised. So they take into consideration why you’re applying now, what’s still outstanding that would stop you from doing whatever you’ve made an application for, and whether you would be able to do that activity if you were authorised immediately.
You need to pass all three of these ‘tests’. It’s inadequate, for example, to be happy to correct mistakes or gaps in your application if you fell at the first hurdle. Quite clearly, they ‘d find this vexing!
“We will move to refuse firms earlier on in the authorisation process where the firm is not ‘ready, willing and organised’ to operate in the regulated financial services market,” Rapson has said.
And those are the magic words: ready, willing and organised. From the day they receive your application, and through the process, they want to make sure you’re ready, willing and organised to adhere to the rules and requirements at all times.
Lee Werrell Chartered FCSI