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On 1 April 2014 the Regulation of Consumer Credit will be transferred from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). For firms currently holding consumer credit licences and wanting to carry on providing credit to customers. There is a requirement to register with the FCA to indicate your intentions. The FCA are referring to this as applying for Interim Permission. All firms with current consumer credit licences should have received letters informing them that they need to so this. Registering must be completed by 31 March 2014 but firms are being encouraged to do this as soon as possible. There is also a financial incentive to do this as there is a 30% discount off the registration fee of £350 if you register prior to 30 November 2013.
The registration is generally straightforward and the FCA have issued a one page guidance notice to help. However, briefly below we lay out some general points to completing the application.
1. Before starting ensure you have all the information you need to complete the form. To hand you will need:
• Your email address
• OFT licence number, which must be active up and to include 31/3/2014
• A note of your licence categories (see below)
• Information about the size of your firm – number of dealerships, locations, number of consumer facing staff, details of compliance staff
• Your FCA reference number if you are already directly authorised by them. NB: the FCA is what used to be the Financial Services Authority (FSA) until April of this year.
• Method of payment – this is card only (Visa, Visa debit or Mastercard)
2. You will need to understand the licence categories you hold on your licence. Unhelpfully, the registration documents refer to licence categories by letter, whereas your licence will have them printed as a description. So for reference:
Category A = Consumer Credit Business
Category B = Consumer Hire Business
Category C = Credit Brokering
Category D = Debt Adjusting
Category E = Debt Counselling
Category F = Debt Collecting
Category G = Debt Administration
Category H = Provision of Credit Information Services
Category I = Credit Reference Agency
Dealers are being urged to ensure they hold the correct licence categories and to apply to the OFT as soon as possible for any additional categories or the removal of inapplicable ones. The categories held need to be correct on 31 March 2014.
Dealers will generally hold category C and in most cases D and E. Category A is for the banks and finance house and those who are primary lenders, i.e. lend their own funds to consumer. There is currently some debate about the need for dealers to hold category G and we are looking into this currently.
3. To proceed with the registration process you need to go to www.fca.org.uk/clicked. You will be asked to enter some basic personal details – name, email address, phone number. Then you will need to create a pin and password.
• Once the initial registration is completed you will need to click to ‘create new interim permission notification.’
• Once the ‘interim permission’ notification is created you will be asked to:
o Enter your OFT licence number
o Confirm your firms name
(if you have any issues with these pieces of information you will need to contact the OFT to resolve before continuing)
o Confirm firms details
– Companies house number
– Trading names
– OFT licence number (again) with issue date and firm type
– Confirm principal place of business, registered office address
– Complete details related to the size and type of business
4. Confirm if you are already directly authorised by the FCA (formerly FSA).
If you are directly authorised you need to put yes. However, if you are not, or are an appointed representative of another firm, you must put no.
If you say yes you will need to provide your FCA reference number.
5. You will be asked to validate that your OFT licence categories are shown correctly (see above in point 2). If you hold licence categories A or C you will need to select the FCA sub-categories underneath.
6. Finally, you will need to complete the declaration and pay the fee.
7. Once the payment is confirmed you will be informed that the application is complete. You will be given a receipt that you should print off and keep for reference. The FCA will also send you a confirmation email.
If the application is complete and your consumer credit licence is in order you do not need to do anything else for now. From April next year firms will be called forward to complete the full authorisation process. You will be informed when this needs to happen but the process will take place over a two year period.
For further details please contact:
Louise Wallis, NFDA
Tel: 01788 538336
Or go to www.fca.gov.uk