With many dealers’ slots to apply for full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation being moved forward with an up and coming deadline of the end of this year in many cases, it is imperative businesses are prepared, warned National Franchised Dealers Association’s head of business development Louise Wallis.
Wallis will take to the stage at this year’s AM F&I Compliance Conference, which takes place on November 18 at Oxford’s Belfry - and is a first for AM.
She will urge dealers to spend the three-month leeway before their submission slot closes in preparation whilst those who have been given dates for next year, should still be amassing the information required ahead of their opening.
“If the deadline is missed, dealers won’t have the authorisation to carry out consumer finance business,” said Wallis.
“And it can take around six months to go through the reapplication procedure which would be a long time without such a vital revenue stream for a business.”
Whilst there is no hard and fast formula for the FCA submission, mainly because the organisation is more interested in a business which has a culture of putting customers first and that can be a difficult concept to illustrate, Wallis will provide the NFDA’s view of the FCA’s requirements.
As much as it is possible, Wallis will provide a step-by-step guide on how to complete the full submission as well as outlining the different levels of authorisation and the way to identify which is most suitable for a particular business.
Businesses have to appoint a representative who is responsible for compliance, for groups this is usually one of the senior directors or the managing director of single sites or small groups. However, Wallis warns that on a day-to-day basis, dealerships are likely to need to ensure one person at each site takes responsibility for compliance.
Wallis said: “The FCA is looking for transparency and honesty as well as a culture which places the customer at the heart of every transaction; businesses will have to prove that the customer’s interest came first at every decision point.
"It is this which can be difficult to evidence. But, having said that, we also want dealers to understand the submission isn’t as challenging as they may have been led to believe.
"Leaving the submission until the week before the deadline or even three weeks before, is not advisable though, you will need time to gather your documentation and prepare your submission.”