It's now less than a month before the 14 July deadline for getting application forms to the FSA. After this date, the FSA cannot guarantee processing brokers' applications before statutory regulation begins on 14 January 2005.

If you do miss the deadline, there could be a period of time where you cannot legally trade - and the penalties for trading illegally are severe. So, if you have yet to complete your application form you should not delay.

It is worth noting that as 14 July approaches, there is likely to be quite a rush to send the forms in. On the most recent figures from the FSA, over 1,500 brokers have still to apply - around a quarter of those that have registered.

It would be advisable not to wait until the very last minute to make your application. The FSA's electronic application system has not been without problems. It is possible that there may be further problems arising from a glut of applications on the eve of the July deadline. You wouldn't want your application caught up in an electronic traffic jam.

On the other side of the application process, the 'minded to authorise' letters are coming in ever greater numbers. Already the Insurance Times list of recipients has reached nearly 250. It is pleasing to see that so many brokers are receiving the regulator's approval. Please keep the emails coming in,

Finally, this week's column looks at human resources and the links to regulation. As Elizabeth Mills says, HR is a complex area, and it should not be forgotten. Good HR practice is an important part of meeting your regulator requirements.

We also feature the FSA's response to a reader's question. Although about referrals it also has application in dealing with secondary intermediaries.

Michael Faulkner