07.05.2018

FCA Proposes New Directory Of Workers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today proposed a new Directory to help consumers and firms check the status and history of individuals working in financial services.

The Directory will include all those who hold Senior Manager positions requiring FCA approval and those whose roles require firms to certify that they are fit and proper. This includes those in consumer-facing roles, such as mortgage and investment advisers.

The Directory has been designed to provide user friendly, practical and easy to understand information. For example, consumers will be able to search by location to find local advisers.

The FCA’s proposals are based on feedback on what consumers and firms would expect from the Directory. It includes more information about individuals working in financial services than is currently available and does so in one, user-friendly place.

The FCA is also today publishing the near final rules on the extension of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) to almost all regulated firms. Firms can now access the Guides to the SM&CR to understand what steps they need to take to prepare for its implementation.

Jonathan Davidson, Executive Director of Supervision (Retail and Authorisations) at the FCA, said:

“We’ve listened to feedback from firms and consumers about the importance of being able to check the status of financial services staff. Introducing the Directory will make it easier for people to be confident they can find the right people to deal with.

“Today’s publications are all about making sure that consumers can interact confidently with financial services professionals by setting clear standards for the behaviour of those individuals, and making available information about their fitness and propriety.

“The Senior Managers and Certification Regime sets clear standards for the conduct that consumers and regulators expect from all financial services staff.  These standards of behaviour are central to the FCA’s priority of promoting healthy cultures in firms.”

Source: FCA

Mark Turner, Managing Director at regulatory consultancy Duff & Phelps, said in a statement:

On the context:

  • “The introduction of the Directory is a positive development for both firms and customers and it’s good to see that the FCA has listened to the concerns raised through the consultation process.
  • “It fills the problematic void that would have otherwise existed where most currently registered individuals would no longer be visible on a public register. 

On the benefits:

  • It’s a two-way street – firms have the benefit of checking information on individuals across the market which will be useful for references, market monitoring and analysis, and for due diligence when dealing with individuals at other firms. 
  • “Meanwhile customers get the confidence of knowing they can check the reputability of their local financial advisers before doing business.”

On the potential drawbacks:

  • “That said, it’s going to be yet another administrative burden on firms, and reporting timescales are tight.
  • “For instance, reporting on new individuals in relevant roles must be undertaken by the end of first business day – or no later than one business day after a person has moved or left – by industry standards, this is a very quick turnaround.”

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