A recent article on Finextra indicated that O2 is seeking to gain a license from the FSA in the UK to offer financial services (Read here). This is something that happens often and is an absolute waste of time and money in my view. It is quite possible to offer financial services under your own brand without having to have a license. Many examples exist in the retail industry where famous retailers have been selling bank accounts, insurance and lending products for years utilising some-one else’s license.The complexity is not just in getting licensed, but also to build an organisation that will ensure compliance, maintain the terms of the license and manage the risks associated with non-compliance. The resources, skills, management approach and governance required to do this is often under-estimated. Changes in the risk profile of the organisation is often also not fully comprehended.This is almost the same as applying for a pilot’s license in order to attend a business meeting that will requires a transatlantic flight. When others have done many transatlantic flights, one will still be tied up in all the prerequisites to be granted the pilot’s license. As is the case with the airline industry, there are many qualified and licensed pilots that can help you establish your own mobile financial service.