FCA tackles ‘operational backlog’ with 100 crypto staff

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says it is clearing an ‘operational backlog’ by approving an increasing number of registering crypto firms and growing its crypto capability to 100 employees. 

In a speech given yesterday, the FCA’s joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight, Steve Smart, said that crypto firms are registering with the regulator at an increased rate thanks to the FCA helping them to better navigate its registration process. 

Smart said that prior to this, “some 86% of the initial crypto registrations we received were rejected, withdrawn or refused.” He said a total of 44 crypto firms are now registered with the FCA while the watchdog works “to eliminate our operational backlog.” 

To help it relieve this logjam, the Financial News (FN) reported today that the FCA has increased its crypto staff to 100 and that the fastest-growing crypto team in the organization is its policy department.  

Read more: UK shuts down ‘trust me bro’ crypto firm that promoted $1.7B Ponzi

The bulk of this staff is allocated to the authorization and supervision departments, which are responsible for overseeing regulatory approval and monitoring approved firms in the market respectively. 

The UK Government’s National Audit Office scrutinized the FCA last December, claiming that the watchdog enforces crypto laws too slowly and requires more crypto-savvy staff to prevent delays in registering crypto firms.

Last week the FN reported that crypto firms registering with the FCA have had to wait over a year to pass its checks. In one case, it reportedly took 753 days for one crypto firm application to be refused. The FN also claims the average age of an FCA application is 385 days. 

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