Yesterday was a landmark day for the insurance industry. It marked exactly one year until the start of FSA regulation. For brokers who may not be on top of their compliance planning, the alarm bells should be ringing.

So far, the FSA has received 6,500 registrations from insurance and mortgage intermediaries combined. This is a long way off the regulator's predictions of regulating over 20,000 firms.

This is a cause for concern. While the message appears to be getting through to brokers - the FSA expects the publication of the final rules at the end of the month to spark a further wave of registration - the secondary intermediary market does not seem to appreciate the significance of regulation.

Brokers and insurers need to ensure that their distribution channels are preserved. If a swathe of secondary intermediaries fails to become authorised then this will be immensely damaging to the insurance industry. The FSA recognises this and is urging the industry to act (see news pages).

Today is also a significant date in the regulatory calendar, as the FSA is now accepting authorisation applications. The final application form is very similar to the draft copy that Insurance Times placed on its website last August. But there are some tricky questions. With this in mind Alex Peterkin begins a two-part guide to completing the form.

Michael Faulkner