Motor dealers have a pain barrier to go through after 31 March when the FCA becomes more concerned with supervision rather than authorisation.
The FCA team at the moment are focused on the authorisation process. They have a deadline of 31 March to achieve.
Naturally, when that application process comes to a close, the bulk of the authorisation team will be in a supervision role.
Even if you are investigated, I think the FCA are reasonable enough to say that if you are demonstrating you are trying to do the right thing for the customer they will take a different approach to those that are blatantly dodging it.
If you get caught offering finance without authorisation, I don’t think there is any defence.
You will have to make a brand new application and that could take 6 – 12 months if the FCA uses their full legal timelines.
That’s a long time if that’s core to your business. The FCA will also take a dim view of the firm’s application and fitness and propriety at this stage.
However, I think there are some people in that position now and there will be more after 31 March, intentionally or otherwise.
We have seen that throughout past 18 months that dealers have missed their slots. They have to make a new application and stop selling finance. We’ve had many customers from the automotive sector in that situation.