The Solicitors Regulation Authority have updated their handbook to take into account changes in consumer credit regulations.
The new version, version 16, marks the beginning of a new regime for consumer credit. Transitional arrangements put in place by the Financial Conduct Authority have ended. Solicitor firms are now covered by SRA regulation as long as the consumer credit activities they carry out are central to the legal services they are provide.
The SRA say that firms carrying out consumer credit work that cannot rely on the SRA’s regulatory arrangements should have sought separate regulation from the FCA or stopped this activity.
The other change to version 16 of the Handbook involves simplifying the process of approval for firms. The rule requiring firms applying for authorisation to explain what reserved legal activities they will be carrying out has been removed. That will make it easier for new firms to obtain authorisation, and support flexible business models.
Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “We have been working on the changes to consumer credit for two years. The new arrangements have been developed in conjunction with the profession and are a proportionate approach.
“The change in authorisation rules is yet another step toward removing unnecessary bureaucracy that does nothing to protect the public interest. We have already removed more than 40 such rules in the last two years, and we are committed to doing more. Part of that is our wider Looking to the Future review, which will produce a shorter, simpler handbook, free up solicitors to work flexibly and make it easier for the public to know what to expect.”