A firm has lost its battle with the regulator over having to pay a full year’s FCA fees for a period when it was authorised for less than six months.
In a final report last week, Commissioner Antony Townsend said the FCA’s decision not to pro-rata charging is within its policy remit.
Introducing a pro-rata charging system would likely be too costly for the regulator overall, he added.
He said: “I am afraid that the FCA is entitled to this policy, to charge in full years, with a cut-off point of 31 March.”
The FCA rejected the complainant’s initial call for fees to be waived or reduced in an October decision letter.
The complainant called charging a full year’s annual fees “grossly unfair” given their business has been de-registered for more than half of the charging period.
The commissioner said: “The FCA has decided, on policy grounds, to charge in full years, [and] this has been its practice for several years, and is well publicised, as the FCA has explained.
Townsend said this complainant was not alone in raising the issue: “You are not the only firm which has complained to me about this, and I know that a significant number of firms are unhappy about it, but I am afraid that the FCA is entitled to adopt this policy and, having done so, must apply it fairly.
“It has done so in your case.
“It would, of course, be possible for the FCA to introduce a system of pro rata fees or rebates for part-year authorisations. That would, however, come at a cost to the overall system,” he added.
Townsend recommended the complainant approach the Smaller Business Practitioner Panel regarding potential changes to the regulator’s charging policies.