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FCA rolls out adviser rebates for consumer credit licences

The FCA has started to send rebates to advisers who are being hit by interim consumer credit licence charges.

In August the Government announced a programme of rebates for advisers affected by the charges.

Money Marketing revealed in July the FCA had written to firms with a consumer credit licence requiring them to pay up to £350 for interim permissions as part of the new FCA-regulated consumer credit market.

The news angered advisers, many of whom had already paid for “indefinite” licences with the Office of Fair Trading.

The FCA says most affected advisers will have received an email or letter from the regulator about the rebate scheme last month.

It will automatically pay rebates from this month to eligible firms which have registered for interim permission, and to those which have been licensed by the OFT or paid a maintenance charge to the OFT after 31 December 2013.

Other eligible firms will need to apply online, and can do so until 30 June 2014.

The FCA refused to say how much compensation is due and how many advisers will be affected.

An FCA spokesman says: “We have begun to send rebates to those that had a consumer credit licence from the OFT, which was to expire later than the end of April.

“The rebate scheme was set up so that firms do not have to pay for the periods of licences after the transfer of consumer credit regulation to the FCA on 1 April.

“Firms that want to carry on consumer credit activities must apply to the FCA for ‘interim permission’ before 1 April to do so.”

In December the FCA revised charges for consumer credit licences, reducing the minimum charge for full authorisation from £1,000 to £600.

But Apfa says greater clarity is still needed on whether advisers require consumer credit licences, and has called for more guidance on issues such as what is considered as “debt counselling”.

Apfa director general Chris Hannant says: “We are meeting with the FCA to discuss the issue next week.”

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