The FCA’s Firms’ Contact Centre or Customer Contact Centre helpline has improved dramatically recently. Whereas, invariably, the caller was put in a queue ranging from between two and four callers, now the response has been instant in my last dozen or so calls. This cannot be coincidence and must reflect the FCA’s response to a recent staffing shortage. This also has the added bonus of not needing to listen to their holding music. More interestingly is the FCA’s initiative regarding case officers. Any one that has had much interaction with the FCA knows that a Variation of Permission or an application for an authorisation requires a wait for a case officer. This is currently running at a record seventeen weeks.
With the new process of application for consumer credit applications now being made on the FCA Connect system, it would seem that, prior to submission, the FCA are reviewing the draft applications to see what workload to expect, and hopefully, to staff accordingly. We are now seeing the FCA contact the applicant prior to submission, to query details of the partly drafted application. Slightly strange we feel as the drafts are incomplete and not reviewed, so inconstancies at this stage will be prevalent. Perhaps they could have a look through the backlog of completed applications awaiting a case officer to see what the case loads would look like.