We are now reporting our authorisations metrics on a quarterly basis to provide greater transparency of our performance. This data covers January to March 2023.
We want to make sure the UK is the best place in the world for financial services to thrive. This involves providing an effective and efficient service whilst maintaining high standards to protect customers and to bolster the reputation of the UK market.
In the interests of transparency and so we can be held to account on our performance, we are now publishing data on our authorisations service metrics quarterly.
In 2021 and 2022 applicants for authorisation and registration were experiencing delays. Our performance has improved following significant investment, hiring 159 extra staff in the past 2 years, and through better use of technology and data to automate parts of the process.
The data for the final quarter of 22/23 shows we continue to make progress towards meeting our service level targets. Our performance against 8 metrics is green, amber for 5 and 3 metrics are red.
The metrics, necessarily, involve a time lag so do not reflect current performance and we expect to see further improvements.
We are increasing scrutiny of applications at the authorisation gateway. The number of new firm applicants that were not authorised in 2021/22 was 1 in 5, up from 1 in 14 in the previous financial year and this has continued through 2022/23.
The Q4 decline in processing appointed representative-related applications for an ‘approved person’ status submitted by an authorised firm is due to a large number of applications being submitted before the applicant had the necessary permissions so the applications could not be determined. The applicant subsequently withdrew the application for permissions and the associated approved person applications after the deadline. Without those applications the performance would have been c.95% (amber).
These metrics are for solo-regulated firms. The FCA and PRA work closely to authorise dual-regulated firms. The metrics for the authorisation of dual-regulated firms can be found on the Prudential Regulation Authority’s website.
Changes to reporting
We want firms to be able to better predict how long it will take for their application to be determined. Previously we only reported on the proportion of cases determined within statutory deadlines. This gave limited insight as to how quickly most cases were determined.
To increase transparency, we are now publishing the lower quartile, median, and upper quartile of the range of calendar days taken for determination in each category of application. This shows that most applications are determined significantly ahead of the statutory deadline. Complete and comprehensive applications are likely to be determined in good time.
We are stopping reporting voluntary metrics for approved persons, appointed representatives, and mutual registrations due to the additional checks at the gateway.
Where we have not met targets
The increasing complexity of some cases means that we will not always meet our statutory targets. In these cases, it is right that we take the time to make sure there is greater scrutiny and engagement with the firms involved. We also continue to see too many incomplete and poor quality applications.
To improve the quality of applications we have issued more detailed guidance for cryptoasset businesses and mortgage intermediaries. We will continue to enhance the guidance to firms in other areas. We are also testing a new digitised form for approved persons applications with a sample of firms.
We will publish our performance for the first quarter of 2023/24 in August 2023.