The regulator also noted that firms were not compelled by the FCA to use wet-ink signatures in their businesses, but that it was a question of whether this was legally permitted.
“Our rules do not explicitly require wet-ink signatures in agreements, nor do they prevent firms from using electronic signatures in agreements,” the regulator said.
“The validity of electronic signatures is a matter of law. Firms should consider the legal position themselves because we cannot give legal advice.”
The FCA highlighted that firms must also consider any related requirements set out in its Principles for Businesses and general rules, such as identifying and minimising potential harms of using electronic signatures, and that it is not more difficult for clients to understand documents they have electronically signed.
“We have recently stated that we would accept electronic signatures for fund-related applications and on all applications from mutual societies. We confirm that firms may use electronic signatures for all interactions with us,” the FCA concluded.