On the 1st April 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took control of Consumer Credit activities from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and with it the Consumer Credit market changed forever. The FCA has adopted the original Consumer Credit Act rules and also brought in a number of Principles and directives aimed at delivering “the best outcome for consumers and continuity for industry”.
All good news for consumers, but with it comes a great deal of change for historic Consumer Credit Licence holders, many of which still haven’t acknowledged the impact the FCA will have on working practices and the industry in general. This is highlighted by recent information released by the FCA indicating that over 19,000 consumer credit firms failed to meet the 1st April deadline to register for interim permission. Those businesses are now unable to legally trade in the consumer market until they can apply for and gain full authorisation and with the FCA having committed to processing over 45,000 applications between now and 2016 it is highly unlikely that new applications will gain an application “slot” for quite sometime.
Early indications are that many of the businesses that have actually gained their interim permission think the process is now complete and there is nothing else to do, but the journey has only just begun.
Becoming an authorised business means adopting all of the Principles set out by the FCA and the foundation of those Principles is Treating Customers Fairly (TCF). An authorised business must be able to demonstrate that fair outcomes for the consumer are at the heart of the business’s strategy and to that end there are 6 consumer outcomes that all authorised businesses should be aiming to achieve. Doing this means being able to evidence that you have implemented polices to cover the full scope of business activities from Financial Promotion to Data Security, a considerable task for many large businesses never mind the many thousands of small businesses that now hold interim permissions and are in the process of making their way through the application process for full authorisation.
Asset Finance Solutions (AFS) already has arguably one of, if not the largest Franchise Network of asset finance professionals in the UK, as a result we have applied for Principal status and our application will be placed with the FCA on the 1st June 2014, subject to acceptance, we will then be offering Appointed Representative (AR) status to our existing franchise network, removing the regulatory burden from them, but ensuring they meet the regulators standards.
One of the reasons we have such a large and successful network is the fact that we allow people to work at their own pace, we provide our network with all the tools they need to provide their customers with the outcomes they want, in a compliant manner. We get involved where necessary, but step back and let our network do what they do best and have been doing for many years – providing great customer service.
Not only do we take care of compliance and ensure our network has everything needed to remain within regulation, but we also provide access to an unrivalled panel of funding partners, meaning that not only can customers expect the highest quality of service, but unparalleled choice.
“Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.”
H. Jackson Brown JR.
We have extremely high standards and our network is made up of highly trained and professional industry specialists, we will shortly be looking to appoint further AR’s of a similar calibre in areas where we currently have limited or no coverage. With change comes opportunity, maybe AFS can help your business by removing some of the burden enabling you to take advantage of the opportunities ?
Tel: 01254 584404
Come and see us on stand G05 at the NACFB Expo at the NEC on 25th June 2014
G05 at the NACFB EXPO at the NEC on the 25th June 2014