Teething problems or a more fundamental glitch - that's the question on the minds of brokers who are hoping to apply for FSA authorisation electronically.

The FSA has of course denied that the electronic application is in chaos (29 January, Insurance Times), but there are many who are concerned that the process is in disarray.

The signs at the moment are not reassuring. Brokers have received activation codes, necessary to begin the application process, that do not work. Others have requested codes and have received no response.

And today a mortgage broker was told by the FSA that it would only accept the electronic application at the end of March, just weeks before the end of April cut-off point for mortgage brokers. A sign of an overloaded system, perhaps?

Given that the vast majority of brokers wish to take the electronic route - and the FSA is strongly encouraging this - the current problems are of great concern.

Will the FSA's system be able to process the sheer number of applications? Are these initial difficulties a pre-cursor to other, potentially more serious problems with the electronic application process?

The consequences of a 'lost' application could be disastrous.

The FSA is adamant that there is no glitch, but the coming weeks will be very telling. If you are having problems with the application process email me at
Michael Faulkner