Recent figures from the FSA on the number of firms registering for authorisation give cause for concern.

Just four months away from the application deadline and only 3,700 brokers have registered their intention to apply for authorisation.

Given that there are 6,000 GISC members, a sizeable number of firms have not even reached as far as to request an application pack from the regulator.

The feedback from some compliance consultants is that brokers are still ignorant of what the new regime requires. Intimidated by the scare tactics used by some, they are waiting expectantly for a "white knight" to arrive to sort things out.

At a recent compliance session for Norwich Union brokers, many attendees had the look of the metaphorical rabbit caught in the car's headlights.

The FSA says that the numbers are "heading in the right direction", but brokers must not procrastinate any longer.

The July deadline is fast approaching and, given the problems experienced by many trying to make electronic applications, a last minute application may not be a wise move.

Michael Faulkner