It might possibly seem run-of-the-mill, to compare making an application for authorisation to a magic trick, but if you’re under any illusion that less-than-perfect preparation suffices, beware.
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 understand what others consider vexatious. It could be everything from slightly bothersome to properly annoying or extremely infuriating. If indeed there’s a scale at all!
However, the FCA has already given us a number of clues.
When assessing an application, your case officer is practically considering three things.
Before anything else, they look for signs of what you’ve accomplished when preparing your application. So they need to know points like whether or not you’ve read the relevant information on the FCA website, made enquiries of the contact centre, or asked for legal or professional compliance advice. They also judge your application on how distinctly you’re able to articulate your regulatory obligations.
Second, they regard 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 truthful with them and positive about getting details for them. They also would like to see that you comprehend your regulatory obligations and reply swiftly to any questions they have about your application.
Third, they really want to make sure you have your supporting documentation prepared and arrangements in place to comply from the first day you become authorised. So they consider why you’re applying now, what’s still outstanding that would stop you from doing whatever you’ve applied 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 not nearly enough, for example, to be willing 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 make certain you’re ready, willing and organised to adhere to the rules and requirements at all times.
Lee Werrell Chartered FCSI