Sadly the evolution occurred in pockets, with case officers applying different standards. This meant that some of our clients would succeed in an area where others wouldn’t despite comparable circumstances, and issues previously closed would be re-opened when cases were reallocated. Clearer policies develop over time, but as authorisation and supervision teams grapple with emerging issues, the level of challenge within the authorisation process is greatly exacerbated.
Some well-meaning interventions arrived during the authorisation process, but these created their own difficulty. For example in January 2016, HM Treasury created an exemption so that P2P platforms would not be viewed as collective investment schemes. However, this made the FCA concerned it could be taken to mean that any non-P2P loan activity on the platform must therefore automatically amount to a collective investment scheme. It has been asking firms to explain why their operations do not amount to CIS but has not yet made any formal pronouncement or blanket statement. On reflection, consultation on the change or some further stakeholder engagement may have prevented this reaction, which cannot have been what HM Treasury intended.