In June, the Treasury announced a delay to the deadline by which solo-regulated firms must have assessed the suitability of their certified staff from 9 December to 31 March 2021.
This was to give firms affected by the coronavirus pandemic extra time to make necessary changes.
To ensure other SM&CR deadlines remain consistent and to provide extra time for firms that need it, the FCA is consulting on extending the deadline for the following requirements from 9 December 2020 to 31 March 2021:
- the date conduct rules come into force
- the deadline for submission of information about directory persons to the financial services register
- changing references in the rules to the deadline for assessing certified persons as fit and proper
The regulator said any firms that can certify staff and submit information on directory persons to the register before the extended March deadline should continue to do so.
The FCA will still publish details of certified employees of solo firms from 9 December as it believes this information will be beneficial to consumers and firms.
The regulator is consulting alongside the parliamentary process so it can give regulated firms certainty and finalise policy as soon as possible.
Training and preparation
It expects accountable senior managers to ensure that all certified persons are fit and proper and said firms should not wait to remove unsuitable staff from certified roles.
Additionally, senior managers should make sure conduct rules training is effective, so staff are aware of them and know how to apply them to their jobs.
As the regime and reporting of directory persons does not apply to benchmark administrators, the FCA has no plans to consult on moving the deadline in this instance. Benchmark administrators have until December 2021 to train non-senior manager staff in the conduct rules.
The FCA is asking for comments on the consultation by 14 August 2020.
Jonathan Davidson (pictured), FCA executive director of supervision, retail and authorisations, said: “These proposed changes recognise the exceptional stress placed on financial services firms by the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance for firms to fully and properly implement the certification regime and to train staff effectively in the conduct rules.
“We continue to place great importance on the certification regime and the conduct rules and see this as an opportunity to raise the bar permanently around conduct, competence and culture in the financial services industry.
“We expect firms to use this extra time, if they need it, to implement certification and conduct rules training to the highest standards.”