A total of 89 commercial debt management firms are still waiting to find out if they will be given full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The figure was revealed today (July 19) during a Q&A session at the regulator’s annual general meeting, in which Jonathan Davidson, head of supervision at the FCA, answered questions over the authorisation process for consumer credit firms.
He told delegates at the event that the FCA was still working with 89 commercial debt advice companies to determine the outcome of their applications.
Davidson also said that 293 debt adjustment or debt advice firms had made applications for full authorisation. Of these, 120 firms withdrawn their application after realising they would not be successful. Some 13 companies had their applications refused outright.
A total of 39 debt counselling organisations have had their applications approved.
At the FCA’s meeting Davidson said: “The authorisation process is an important tool to ensure we have very high standards. For many firms, when they first become authorised, it’s very important at that stage that we use those opportunities to set high standards.
“How long it takes to reach those standards depends of the quality of the application. If the application is complete it takes six months under the statutory deadline to issue a decision. If the application is incomplete, the statutory deadline is 12 months.
“So it depends on the application, the complexity of the business, if vulnerable customers are involved and where we think there may be a significant risk.”
Davidson added that the FCA makes “no apology” for carrying out detailed investigations when it needs more information to assess an application.
By Marcel LeGouais