The warning comes from David Wearden, who has 35 years’ of finance experience and has been appointed to lead Mann Island’s compliance efforts.
He says: ‘It’s very obvious from the volume of dealer enquiries that all too many are struggling with the new compliance expectations. It is a situation many find more difficult by virtue of the sheer volume and technical complexity of rules and guidance and nervousness about how FCA will now enforce them.
‘But one thing is very clear: FCA is a very different creature from the OFT and won’t hesitate to flex its muscles and send a warning shot across the bows of the industry should it discover malpractice.
‘I fully expect FCA to make an example of a business in the sector before too long.
‘Dealers need to come to terms with the fact the demands of regulation can’t be addressed through a tick-box approach and they should do everything they can to ensure they’re not the ones FCA singles out for attention.
‘They should nonetheless rest assured that if they “do the right thing” by customers and put them at the heart of their business, they won’t go far wrong.’
The landscape for dealers seeking to finalise their FCA authorisation can be a confusing one, says Mann Island.
To cater for this, it has opted to make compliance expertise an area of differentiation. ‘It is something the business feels will strengthen its proposition, both in guiding the business and supporting dealer customers,’ says the firm.
Wearden has worked within a range of legal and compliance roles in financial services over the past 25 years, and has a track record encompassing both regulators and industry. Having worked mainly in the life insurance and pensions sector through a troubled period where it has undergone a seismic shift in regulation, his experience gives him a valuable perspective on the changes that are now coming into motor finance. It is expertise that Mann Island is now bringing to their dealers.
Mann Island has responded to an ongoing series of questions from dealers about the authorisation process and compliance requirements by developing a guide based upon genuine dealer questions.
Some of the questions go beyond pure authorisation issues and extend to queries about responsibility for different parts of the finance distribution process – for example, the mistaken idea that brokers generally act as agents for dealers and dealers therefore assume responsibility for the broker’s actions.
In anticipation there will be more dealer questions to come, on which the Mann Island team will endeavour to provide guidance, the document is simply called ‘Dealer Bulletin No. 1’. It is available in downloadable form at tinyurl.com/mif2015.
‘Helping all dealers by sharing our insights seemed a natural step, hence this publication. The feedback has been very positive, so it seems to have hit a definite sweet spot,’ says Wearden.
The first edition answers the most common questions received to date. These include the responsibilities of authorised dealer personnel, the level of permission required, the confusion that can arise with general insurance regulation and liability issues amongst others. The guide provides Mann Island Finance’s view and sources of additional information that may be useful to the dealer.