The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched the first phase of its new asset management authorisation hub.
The hub has been launched to support new firms by assisting them throughout the authorisation process, both before and afterwards.
The watchdog stressed the hub would 'not lower entry standards to the market and entrants will need to meet the same rigorous standards as current firms before they receive authorisation'.
Phase one of the programme offers new firms pre-application meetings, dedicated case officers and access to the new website portal.
The watchdog, which regulates over 3,000 asset managers and approved 300 new firms in 2016, said this will make it easier for firms to understand how the FCA works, make a complete submission, and transition from its authorisation to supervision regime.
The system is based on four principle objectives:
* To clarify expectations [and] support firms with better guidance on regulations and processes.
* To make information easier to access via a dedicated portal for investment managers on the FCA’s website.
* To foster better engagement between the FCA and new entrants.
* To provide end-to-end support for firms moving through the start-up cycle.
Future phases will be rolled out throughout 2018 and will feature open days and surgeries for firms.
FCA executive director of supervision - investment, wholesale and specialists, Megan Butler (pictured) said: 'The asset management sector is important for the UK economy. We want to aid new entrants to the market and the hub will help new firms understand us better as an organisation.'