It may 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, listen.
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.”
Obviously, it’s hard to know what others identify as vexatious. Maybe anything from slightly bothersome to properly annoying or absolutely exasperating. If indeed there’s a scale at all!
Fortunately, the FCA has actually offered us a few clues.
When examining an application, your case officer is essentially contemplating three things.
First and foremost, they seek indications of what you’ve done when preparing your application. So they need to know points like whether 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 clearly 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 judge whether you’re being open and straightforward with them and positive about procuring information for them. They also would like to see that you understand your regulatory obligations and react swiftly to any questions they have about your application.
Third, they need to ensure you have your supporting documentation ready and arrangements in place to comply from the first day you become authorised. So they keep in mind why you’re applying now, what’s still outstanding that would prevent you from doing whatever you’ve applied for, and whether you would have the capacity 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