However, the authority warns of the criminal penalties in continuing to sell insurance products beyond that date.
“We will not short-circuit our scrutiny but we do have a desire to help,’ says an FSA spokesman. “Incomplete information slows down an application the most. Anyone making a complete, straightforward application now should get approval before January 15.”
Earlier this month, the FSA began sending out ‘Scope of Permission’ (SOP) notices, effectively full authorisation to sell insurance products after the deadline.
Car supermarket group CarLand, which has six outlets, claims to be the first motor retailer to receive full permission, a month after receiving its interim Minded to Authorise (MTA) notice. Its application was submitted at the end of May 2004.
In order to streamline compliance, CarLand launched an e-academy to train its 180 frontline staff, and formed its own compliance team to make sure each module is completed to FSA standards.
All its customer-facing and call centre staff will have completed training by mid-January.
CarLand’s authorisation came days before the Retail Motor Industry Federation and Inchcape were also granted FSA approval.
Inchcape is rolling out a training programme for more than 600 employees to ensure they are ready for January 15.
“Gaining FSA accreditation was a key part of our strategy for developing our retail business and we felt it was essential that every member of our sales team received full training,” says Spencer Lock, Inchcape Retail managing director.