The FCA recently announced that it is introducing improvements to the design of its Form A to make it both quicker and easier for firms to apply for authorisation.
Additionally, the digitisation of the form, as well as enhanced data collection, will help the regulator carry out quicker assessments by ensuring it has all the data required.
Every year the FCA receives thousands of applications from both firms and individuals who want to provide regulated products and services.
These firms must be authorised accordingly by the FCA however in order to prevent consumer harm.
To gain authorisation or registration all applicants must first fill out the relevant application forms, which can be accessed via the Connect system. Firms also need to fill out a form to request changes to their permissions, for example to add Senior Manager Functions or to cancel permissions.
In 2023 alone the FCA has so far received more than 15,000 Senior Management and Controlled Function applications, which are applied for using Form A. It is one of the longest and most used forms, and as a result it is the first form to be redesigned in order to help the regulator make quicker assessments and outcomes.
Once the new Form A has been rolled out the plan is then to reduce the overall number of forms asked for and to therefore make the application process far more efficient.
The regulator has also highlighted the number of incomplete applications it receives, which inevitably then result in delays to the authorisations process. To help reduce the number of applications submitted with missing information the improved forms will now have clearer signposting to help firms understand which fields are mandatory.
For further information please read the blog from Emily Shepperd, FCA Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Authorisations, which explains the improvements in more detail.