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Spare a thought

27 September 2006 Angelo Coppola

We ran a story a little while ago about a reader who mischievously had attempted to use FA News to have his argument settled with the FSB, without providing all the details.

We received another letter from a reader, and prior to publishing the story we spoke with Gerry Anderson, Deputy Registrar of Financial Services Providers at the FSB.

In a nutshell our reader contacted the FSB on 4 November to say he is retiring so didn't wish to renew his licence and was asked to put this in writing, which he duly did four days later.

He was then informed he has to pay for the full year as he had to notify them the FSB - by the end of October.

He has now got a statement and they are charging interest on the arrears. The catch is that our reader is 70 years old.

The FSB's Anderson responds: There is no such thing as a full year or a half year or any period for which levies are raised. Levies are raised once annually for all FSB regulated entities.

In the case of FAIS, the levies for FSP's are raised against all holders of licences as at certain dates. The 2005 levy was raised against authorised FSP's who were in possession of valid FAIS licences as at 30 September 2005.

Although not aware of all the details of this particular case, the gentleman advised the FSB to lapse his licence on 9 November 2005, and it still means that he is liable for the payment of the levy raised against his FSP because he was a holder of the licence as indicated above.

On the other hand if he advised us on 15 September 2005, that he wished to lapse his licence, no levies would have been raised. The date of advice/request to the FSB to lapse the licence is therefore of prime importance.

Anderson did confirm that no future levies will be raised against this FSP as we will process his application to lapse his licence received on 9 November 2005.

Concerning the invoices for the levies in respect of all licence holders were dated
29 October 2005, and were payable by 30 November 2005, we rightfully raised interest on outstanding amounts from the end of January 2006 and every month thereafter.

Anderson said that the FSP can contact the FSB's finance department with regard to the interest raised and request whether such interest can be waived.

On a point of clarity, Anderson says that there is no such thing as a renewal. FSPs aren't required to renew a licence. The licence remains valid for as long as the FSP doesnt request its lapse or the FSB withdraws the licence.

Editor's thoughts:
* Communication is a wonderful thing - when it works - especially two-way
communication.
* I recently attended a customer service workshop and the one lesson I learnt was
this: the customer is always right. The FSB now has customers in the form of FSPs, a relationship that it is still getting used to.   

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