Deadline for Conduct Rules Training
The FCA has consulted to extend the deadline for solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons from 9 December 2020 to March 2021. The delay is intended to give firms affected by the coronavirus pandemic the time they need to make the required changes. The consultation also proposes extending the deadline for training staff who are not Certification or Senior Managers in the Conduct Rules. Senior Managers and Certified Persons have been subject to the Conduct Rules since implementation of the SM&CR in December 2019 and the FCA will “hold them accountable for any misconduct arising during and after the pandemic.”
The Consultation closed on 14 August 2020, with publication of feedback due shortly. This is likely, however, to be a formality, with the UK Treasury already having agreed to the extension of the fitness and propriety assessment.
The FCA will confirm whether the deadline has been extended shortly, and whether the extension also covers the date that the Conduct Rules come into force for most staff. Initially, firms were given 12 months from implementation to train non-Senior Manager and Certified Persons staff on the Conduct Rules, which would mean that this should have been completed by 9 December 2020. If the extension takes effect, training will only need to be completed by 31 March 2021.
Whilst most firms are expected to be able to meet the original deadline, the extension takes into account that some firms will have experienced some difficulty with resource during the pandemic and will benefit from extra time, meaning that firms will not have to choose between meeting regulatory deadlines and achieving a full implementation of the Conduct Rules.
The FCA is not changing the deadline for Conduct Rule breach reporting, however, and most firms will need to submit their first annual report in October 2021 as previously scheduled – however if the extension goes ahead this will only need to report on breaches occurring after 31 March 2021.
Most firms will be able to meet the requirement to train all staff members by 9th December, and they can use our Conduct Rules courses to do so – the online format is convenient for those staff still working from home, and for those back in the office who want to complete the training in their own time, or come back to it. Until we hear more from the FCA, it does look as though non-Senior Management and Certified staff will likely have until the 31 March to complete this training.