The Financial Conduct Authority has outlined plans aimed at improving its authorization process from now on.

Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016, the FCA said it received nearly 37,000 applications for authorisation from consumer credit firms. It said it had closed 87% of these applications, and aimed to close nearly 99% of all applications by September 2016.

The regulator said that it had received feedback from firms and industry bodies that the process could be improved by more contact from case officers in the early stages of application and by receiving additional updates on the progress of their application.

The five improvements are:

  1. The FCA will tell applicants as soon as their application has been assigned to a case officer. All communication about the application will be handled by this person. If it subsequently proves necessary to assign the case to a different case officer, the applicant will be told as soon as the change is made.
  2. All communications from applicants will be acknowledged within two working days.
  3. A substantive response will be given within 10 working days and, where this is not possible, an update will be sent within the 10 working day period telling the applicant when they should expect to receive a substantive response from us.
  4. Applicants will be given clear deadlines when asked to submit additional information.
  5. Applicants will receive an update from the designated case handler on the current status of their case at least once a month.

The Finance & Leasing Association welcomed the plan. Stephen Sklaroff, director general of the FLA said: “We have been discussing with the FCA our members' concerns over aspects of the authorisation process, and we welcome today's announcement by the FCA of a set of commitments designed to improve the process and ensure better communication with applicants."

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