FCA refuses small payment institution registration to Awesome3

Maria Nikolova

The regulator considers that it is unlikely that in practice any material business decisions will be taken in the UK.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today published a final notice regarding Awesome3 Limited’s application for registration as a small payment institution (SPI).

The regulator says it has refused the application because Awesome3 does not meet the conditions for registration as an SPI contained in Regulation 14 of the PSRs. In particular, the Authority considers that Awesome3 does not meet the conditions set out in Regulations 14(7) and 14(10). These conditions respectively provide that the applicant must satisfy the Authority that its directors possess appropriate knowledge and experience to provide payment services, and that the applicant’s head office, registered office or place of residence must be in the United Kingdom.

Awesome3 is owned by Angela Nkomo, who appears to be the firm’s controller and is one of its two directors. The other director is Sanelisiwe Ndlovu.

The FCA considers that the conditions set out in Regulations 14(7) and 14(10) of the PSRs are not met because the individual who is proposed to be the UK-resident director responsible for oversight of day-to-day operations, Ms Ndlovu, does not possess the appropriate knowledge and experience to oversee payment services activities.

Furthermore, Awesome3 does not meet the condition set out in Regulation 14(10) because of the overseas domicile of one of the firm’s two directors, Mrs Nkomo, who also appears to be the firm’s controller. The Authority therefore considers that it is unlikely that in practice any material business decisions will be taken in the UK.

In November 2019, the FCA gave notice that it proposed to refuse the Application and that Awesome3 was entitled to make representations to the Authority about that proposed action. Awesome3 made various written representations which the Authority took into account. In February 2020, the Authority gave Awesome3 notice that it had decided to refuse the application.

Awesome3 had 28 days from the date the Decision Notice was given to refer the matter to the Upper Tribunal. No referral was made to the Upper Tribunal within this period of time or to date.

Now, the FCA has given to Awesome3 a final notice of its refusal.

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