RegulationAug 7 2017

FCA crack down on authorisation backlog bears fruit

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FCA crack down on authorisation backlog bears fruit
ByDamian Fantato

The average time it takes for someone to become authorised to work in financial services has continued to fall, as the Financial Conduct Authority acts to get its backlog under control.

Between January and March 2017 it took an average of around 15 weeks for an application for retail authorisation to be determined.

This is a fall of around 10 weeks over the past year, with the average application period between April and June 2016 being slightly less than 25 weeks.

Over the course of 2016 the maximum processing time for a retail authorisation application had increased to 74 weeks and then to 90 weeks – nearly two years.

At the time the FCA had said it was aware of the backlog and had brought in more staff to help deal with it.

The latest figures show this has now fallen to 65 weeks, which is an increase on the previous quarter when it was 51.

But the FCA has warned these figures can be volatile depending on the types of cases which are handled during the period in question.

It said: “Average processing time measures only the cases that have been completed during the quarter, not those which remain outstanding nor those which should have been completed.

“When older, often outlier, cases happen to be completed, it can have a distorting effect on averages.

“The table showing maximum times illustrates this variability.”

The overwhelming majority of applications are approved – 93 per cent of them – with the FCA saying most applicants prefer to withdraw rather than face a refusal.

On average it takes the FCA just over five weeks to determine a variation of permission application – which is a reduction of almost 50 per cent over the past year.