The director general of the Finance & Leasing Assoociation (FLA) has reiterated concerns over timing after the consultation paper on the transfer of credit regulation in the UK from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) closed today.

Following the promise from Martin Wheatley, head of the Financial Services Authority (FSA, which will become the FCA), to "listen" to the UK finance industry and particularly the FLA, which has submitted its response to the paper.

As he has stated previously, the primary concern for Stephen Sklaroff, director general of the FLA, is the timescale by which the handover of regulation will happen.

Scale of change

"It’s important not to underestimate the scale of the Government’s proposal," said Sklaroff.

"We need to make sure the transfer is smooth and efficient, and that it doesn’t end up restricting the availability of credit. To avoid that, we need to plan properly for the logistical challenge of transferring an entire industry to a new regulator, under a brand new regime, in less than a year.

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"We will need a sensible timetable for implementing the new regime, which allows firms and the regulator to make the necessary changes, while ensuring that consumers remain well-protected and can access credit when they need it."

The FSA said it had confidence in the timetable, given the plans for an interim regime for firms to register with rather than complete a full registration with the FCA.

The application process, which will then lead to full authorisation under the FCA will not be "arduous," a spokesperson for the Authority told Motor Finance. "We’ve been engaging with firms and industry groups right the way through the transition."

The FSA has also been preparing for the move alongside the OFT and will see OFT staff transfer across to the FCA.

Although the FCA will be regulating more than 50,000 companies, the FSA emphasised that firms will be able to carry on working as before from 1 April 2014 provided they are registered with the interim regime. After the deadline, the FCA will continue to work with firms to ensure the change remains "as smooth as possible".