FSA approvals taking longer as split looms

NEW businesses face a longer wait to gain approval from the City regulator, according to new research.

Firms waited an average of 19.6 weeks in the first three months of this year, according to Financial Services Authority data obtained by law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.

The 13.2 per cent jump, the third consecutive quarterly rise, comes as the FSA moves to a “twin peaks” model before splitting in 2013.

The average time taken to approve new firms stood at 17.3 weeks in the three months to June last year. It comes as City frustration grows over the FSA, which has abandoned its “light touch” approach after the financial crisis.

“Authorisation times rocketed after the credit crunch as the FSA started to scrutinise the business plans for financial services start-ups to an unprecedented degree,” said Steven Francis, a partner at RPC.

The FSA said: “While the FSA has increased its scrutiny of applications, timescales are also driven by other factors including the complexity of the business and the number of people seeking approval. In the future regulatory structure, the statutory timeframes for processing applications will remain the same, and firms will only need to make one application.”