Senior Managers and Certification Regime Deadlines
As the extended deadline for solo-regulated firms’ compliance with the final elements of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime deadline is fast approaching, this week we’ll take a look at what needs to happen now.
Conduct Rules Training should have been completed for all staff to whom the rules apply by 31 March. This means that all applicable staff should have been trained on the rules that apply to them, and should understand what this means for their role. Firms should ensure there is evidence that training has been provided, and that staff understand how the rules affect them. Senior Managers should have been trained on both tiers of the rules and how they apply to them by the implementation date of 9 December 2019.
Conduct rules training has been top of the agenda for most firms, understandably, given the importance placed on the Rules by the FCA, and because of the potential consequences of failing to comply with the rules and with training requirements and other obligations. Don’t put off completing other elements of the SM&CR at this stage, however. Where data for the Directory Persons entries is incorrect or where a complete report is not submitted by a due date, a £250 admin fee will be enforced. This fee also applies to updating data in light of staff or information changes – any updates must be submitted within 7 days of the information changing.
The FCA’s Directory of certified and assessed persons publishes information relating to key individuals working in financial services, enabling consumers and other professionals to check their details. The final deadline for solo-regulated firms to submit their data is fast approaching – data must be submitted via Connect by 31 March 2021.
The Directory is already up and running, with the FCA having been incrementally publishing data already submitted from 14 December 2020.
Some firms have reported concerns or uncertainty around the submission of personal data, citing GDPR concerns – the FCA has said that it considers that it has a lawful basis under Article 6 of GDPR - ‘public interest’ - and so the consent of each individual for the submission of their personal data isn’t required.
The authorised signatory – required on the declaration page – should be the individual responsible for submitting the form, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual with responsibility for the firm’s compliance with the certification regime.
Firms will need to confirm that data remains correct every 12 months. The FCA will send several email reminders to log on and click and attestation button in Connect. However, where data changes, this will need to be updated within 7 days of the change.
The FCA has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document. Totalling 16 pages, it covers useful scenarios such as where an individual moves to a new firm but has changed their passport number meaning that the same person may have two records that won’t match. The FCA has clarified that in this case, the new firm will have responsibility for checking the accuracy of their data, and as long as the NI number is given, then the records will match.
The 31 March is also the deadline date for the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of Certified Persons. Rules and guidance on the fitness and propriety assessment are set out in the FIT chapter of the Handbook, but in short, the assessment should cover the individuals:
Honesty, integrity and reputation
Competence and capability, including whether the person satisfies any relevant FCA training and competence requirements
The format and style of the assessment aren’t prescribed by the FCA but should cover the requirements in a way that takes the nature, scale and complexity of the business and of the activities undertaken by the firm into account. Ultimately, the assessment should test and confirm whether the individual has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to perform their role effectively.
For those who still need to complete their Conduct Rules Training, we offer two online courses, which allow Senior Managers and Certification and all other staff to access and complete the training at their own convenience, ideal for those who want to complete the training in their own time, and to come back to it to refresh later on. They provide clear and comprehensive training in the Rules, including a mix of videos, small amounts of text and plenty of scenarios to demonstrate how the rules apply practically.
For large groups, we can offer a simplified enrolment service and pricing, simply email Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.