RegulationAug 24 2016

Waiting times for FCA authorisation worsen

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Waiting times for FCA authorisation worsen

The amount of time taken for a retail firm to get authorisation has got longer, as the Financial Conduct Authority continues to deal with a backlog.

According to the regulator’s key performance indicators, published today (24 August), it takes on average nearly 25 weeks for a retail firm to get authorisation, but the maximum processing time can be 74 weeks - nearly a year and a half.

The FCA said it had expected its figures for the second quarter of 2016 to get worse - and the maximum waiting time has increased by nearly 50 per cent on the previous three months, when it was 50 weeks.

“Our average processing time for both retail and wholesale firm type applications has increased as anticipated while additional temporary staff are brought in and trained,” read the report.

“We expect our APT [average processing time] to continue to increase in the next quarter as these additional staff become fully proficient; we then expect to see our APT improve.”

In June, the FCA stated there had been improvements in how quickly cases were assigned and therefore predicted the backlog should start to reduce by the end of this year.

However, it is understood the backlog is expected to continue growing in the next quarter, as staff training continues.

Meanwhile, the average processing time for variations of permission for retail firms has improved, going down from nearly 15 weeks to around 10 weeks.

But at the same time, the maximum processing time increased from 38 weeks in the first quarter of 2016 to 44 weeks in the second.

The FCA stated: “Our APT for retail firm type applications has improved as a result of us bringing in additional temporary staff. We expect to maintain the APT for retail firm type applications over the next quarter.”

Once applications for authorisation are processed, the overwhelming majority are granted, with 89 per cent given the green light in the second quarter of 2016, with no refusals.

The regulator said companies often withdraw when they face a challenge from the regulator, rather than risk receiving a refusal decision.

Finally, 94 per cent of variation of permissions applications were approved in the second quarter.