I DON’T think Lord Nelson would have been as forthcoming about his plans for the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, as I am going to be about First Response Finance’s strategy over the past few weeks. But on this occasion, sharing good practice is the right path for the industry.
Current Consumer Credit Licence holders can now register for interim permissions with the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that when the new regulator takes over from the Office of Fair Trading on April 1, 2014, you will be able to continue the activities detailed on your licence.
This is a time for unity and cohesion, as we all commence preparations for the transfer, so there is a smooth transition. Regulatory topics can cause people to panic, show resistance or, even worse, delay the required action until sadly it is too late.
Within the sales teams at First Response Finance we have completed a process of education, whereby each person has had their competence and knowledge tested surrounding the subject. This has been followed by training workshops to improve the team’s ability to engage in guidance and support conversations with car dealers nationwide.
Following on from us gaining an understanding of our knowledge and sharpening any shortfalls we have, we began to look at our business partners’ Consumer Credit Licences to see what support and assistance is required to get them to a position where they are ready to apply for the interim permissions.
Initial conversations with car dealers have followed, to discover if they were aware of what is happening, confirm they knew what they needed to do and then provide the right level of direction depending on an individual situation.
And rightly so. In some instances we have come up against objections after we have successfully made contact and broached the subject.
An example of what we were told is: ‘We are not going to do anything until we are asked. We are unsure if we are going to continue supplying point-of-sale finance, it’s all money going out of the door. We have been supplying finance for 15 years and had no problems, and my main prime lender hasn’t said anything about this to me.’
All of which are plausible things to consider, and extremely important to address as a business before committing.
Unfortunately, action is necessary on this occasion, as too is the transfer of money from your bank account to at least one governing body. No matter what your objection, if you want to continue to offer finance facilities correctly, you are going to have to comply.
The good news is First Response Finance is ready and willing to support you in these important industry changes. All you need to do is ask, which is a lot easier than preparing for battle.