It might just seem trite, to compare making an application for authorisation to a magic trick, but 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.”
Needless to say, it’s hard to determine what others identify as vexatious. Perhaps everything from a little irritating to thoroughly annoying or totally infuriating. If indeed there’s a scale at all!
Fortuitously, the FCA has actually offered us a number of clues.
When examining an application, your case officer is ultimately considering three things.
First and foremost, they hunt for signs of what you’ve done when preparing your application. So they like to know points like whether or not you’ve read the information on the FCA website, made enquiries of the contact centre, or asked for legal or professional compliance advice. They also determine your application on how distinctly you’re able to articulate your regulatory obligations.
Second, they consider your attitude during the application process. (I’m sure they didn’t mean that to sound quite the way it does). They determine whether you’re being open and completely honest with them and hands-on about procuring details for them. They also wish to see that you comprehend your regulatory obligations and answer promptly to any questions they have about your application.
Third, they need to ensure you have your supporting documentation well prepared and arrangements in position 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 prevent you from doing whatever you’ve made an application for, and whether you would have the ability to do that activity if you were authorised right away.
You need to successfully pass all three of these ‘tests’. It’s not enough, as an example, to be happy to correct mistakes or gaps in your application if you fell over 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 be sure you’re ready, willing and organised to comply with the rules and requirements at all times.
Lee Werrell Chartered FCSI