Alternative business structures

Existing and potential approved regulators can apply to the LSB to become licensing authorities for ABS, and for associated Orders from the Lord Chancellor. These include recommendations about appeals bodies, maximum financial penalties, and changes required to primary legislation. The LSB has issued guidance to LAs on the content of licensing rules for ABS.

ABS may present new (or different) issues, to which regulators need to respond in a way that promotes the regulatory objectives and principles of best regulatory practice. The guidance focuses on outcomes that LAs must seek to achieve, with the intention that regulation should target risk and consumer detriment.

In August 2011 the LSB published a research report setting out its thinking on the likely impact of ABS on the market.

ABS licensing commenced from 6 October 2011. Details of closed applications for designation as a LA can be found here and current designation applications are here.

There are four LAs currently able to issue ABS licences – CLC, ICEAW, IPReg and SRA and the. Others have expressed interest in regulating ABS.

The LSB will also keep a record of people disqualified from working in or owning ABS.

Although it emerged via our work on special bodies outlined below, an issue of relevance for both the not-for-profit and profit sectors is the scope of regulation applied in licensing of ABS. We will continue to discuss this with LAs where relevant, and encourage recognition of the discretion that the Act gives to them.