This week, celebrations will be taking place at a number of broker offices around the country, as the first 'minded to authorise' letters start to drop through the letterboxes of those who applied early.

There will be only a small number, as only a about a quarter of brokers have completed the application form so far.

For those who have yet to apply, the 31 May deadline for the early application discount is fast approaching.

Once, application forms are in, there is still much work to be done. Putting in place the appropriate corporate governance structure is one area of the rules that should not be underestimated.

As this week's feature describes, the FSA requires high standards to be met, and firms need to be meticulous in addressing the issues. The systems and controls structures need to be analysed and tested; staff must be aware of their responsibilities; and records must be kept.

Firms need to take a hard look at their systems. A failure to do so could mean the treasured 'minded to authorise' letter does not arrive.

Michael Faulkner

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