Requests for CCLs to be delayed

Speaking at a SimplyBiz compliance event, the group head of compliance for SimplyBiz warned delegates that CCL applications in March would be subject to delays in the run-up to the OFT handing over regulatory control to the FCA on 1 April 2014.

His advice was for advisers to send their applications to the OFT as usual and not to wait around, as any outstanding applications would be passed from the OFT to FCA.

A spokesman for the OFT said it would continue to process applications until 31 March 2014, but added: “If you do continue to apply to the OFT for a CCL before 31 March, you must be aware that the OFT is unlikely to make a final decision on your application. It will be passed to the FCA.”

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Any firm with an OFT CCL that plans to continue providing credit to customers after 31 March 2014 must take action and register for interim permission before 1 April. Last week the City regulator confirmed that almost 90 per cent of consumer credit firms were now registered. Firms that continue to offer credit to customers without interim permission could be acting illegally and agreements with consumers could be unenforceable.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “Brokers need to be able to apply for these permissions and need to know their applications will be dealt with.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sinclair welcomed finalised FCA consumer credit rules, which confirm that brokers will not be required to apply for costly debt counselling and debt adjusting permissions.

Adviser view

Brian Brotherton, principal of Essex-based The Partnership, said: “Since the FCA announced it was taking over CCLs from the Office of Fair Trading, the regulatory rules seem to fall into a Venn diagram – who covers what? And which adviser needs which permissions?”