Quicker and simpler: OFT calls for ABS application process

Published: 29/01/2013

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has called for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) to speed up alternative business structure application approvals.

Approximately 70 ABS applications, out of more than 150, have been approved to date. These figures have prompted the OFT to criticise the process with fears such delays could act as an unnecessary barrier from discouraging further businesses from applying for ABS status.

The SRA does recognise there have been delays in the issuing of ABS licences; Chief Executive Antony Townsend acknowledging this when he described its standard of service as “still fall below what we would like.”

He remains, however, steadfast in his defence of the process and its progress and, while initial delays are inevitable and, in fact, necessary in order to devise robust, authorisation best practice, it is not the sole contributor for the hold ups.

“We can be confident that the authorisation approach, including which individuals need to be approved, meet the complex requirements of the Legal Services Act.

“We also need to be confident that the applicant understands the key regulatory risks in their risks and comply with our regulatory requirements. It is fair to say that not all applicants have easily grasped what is required, despite at times intensive engagement by the ABS team.”

Content correct at time of publication

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