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By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Jul 06, 2012

FSA ‘categorically’ will not fast-track Honister IFAs

The Financial Services Authority will not fast-track authorisations for advisers of failed network Honister, despite reports suggesting this is the case, Simon Goldthorpe, director at Beaufort Asset Management, told FTAdviser.

He said: “I spoke to the FSA yesterday and they are very clear that there will be no clear concessions. They have confirmed that categorically.

“The only concession they will have which they advised us, because this is a major difficulty, is they will accept third-party references provided by a firm if we believe everything else is in order.

“Because Honister is in administration, it won’t issue references for members which makes it very difficult to get an application into the FSA.”

Like many networks and advisory firms, Beaufort has received calls from Honister advisers. The firm set up a partnership in February 2011, “essentially a network structure”, and the appointed representatives collectively decide who joins.

There are currently three ARs but it is “accelerating quite quickly”.

Mr Goldthorpe said: “Lots of Honister advisers have called, but we are only taking those that are the right calibre and quality for us.

“By not doing that, you essentially put the rest of the AR firms in jeopardy [and] that is exactly what happened at Honister. Out of 100 [Honister] firms, there may be six or eight that we consider are right for us and of course the partnership will have to agree they are the right firms.”

For those firms that do join Beaufort, they will receive a registered individual status which means they can trade immediately.

“These guys are in this terrible limbo at the moment and they can come in as RIs and we will create an AR position for them, but to get them trading immediately they can have a RI status straightaway. The appointed rep status will take months.”

The FSA refused to comment on rumours that Honister IFAs’ authorisations will get fast-tracked, simply pointing FTAdviser to the ‘small firms’ section of its website.

It said that as an AR of Honister, advisers can remain an AR but with another principal or become directly authorised.

The FSA said on its website: “For a simple case we estimate the process should take about three to four months. The more complete the application form is and the quicker you respond to any questions raised, the sooner your application will be processed.”

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