SM&CR deadlines

The deadline for ensuring all Certified Persons have been assessed and certified as fit and proper and for all staff to have undergone Conduct Rules training was originally set at 9 December 2020. That is just a few weeks away and it is to be hoped that most firms will have both aspects well in hand.

Regular readers will recall that we have previously advised that the FCA has delayed the deadline until 31 March 2121. However, as we indicated, firms should remember that the purpose of the extension to the deadline was to assist firms in light of difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here is what the FCA statement actually said …

“The Treasury has agreed to delay, from 9 December 2020 until 31 March 2021, the deadline for solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons. This will give firms significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic time to make the changes they need.”

The implication of this statement is that the extension is aimed at firms that can demonstrate ‘significant’ impact of the pandemic. What does that mean? Arguably anything you like. But, the same statement also said … 

“Firms should continue with their programmes of work in these areas and, if they are able to certify staff earlier than March 2021, they should do so. Firms should not wait to remove staff who are not fit and proper from certified roles.”

The safe conclusion therefore would appear to be that firms should not rely on the extension unless they can genuinely demonstrate that not completing the certification and the conduct rules training was due to difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Important Note: ATEB news is intended to provide general information ONLY. The content, including any views expressed or guidance provided, does not replace the need to comply fully with FCA Rules and Guidance. Unless you have discussed news article content with ATEB, and specifically how it relates to your circumstances, then ATEB disclaims all liability and responsibility and actions arising from any reliance placed upon it. For the avoidance of doubt therefore, any reliance you place on such information without our consultation is at your own risk.

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Our View

It is unfortunate that there are what could be taken as mixed messages here. On the one hand, the FCA recognises that some firms will struggle to meet the original December deadline. On the other, it suggests that firms should aim to do so if possible.

Our view is that, despite the pandemic issues that came to the fore in late March, many firms, as part the firm’s normal annual appraisal and ongoing training processes, have probably been actioning the certification process and conduct rules training roll out over the year since SM&CR came into effect for solo-regulated firms in December 2019.

We have certainly been encouraging firms to continue to work toward the original December 2020 timescale.

However, if you are struggling with any aspect of SM&CR, ATEB can help. Whatever you need, from templates and processes through to Conduct Rules training, we will be delighted to hear from you. 

Action Required By You

  • If you have not yet completed your certification assessments, or outstanding Conduct Rules training, contact ATEB to see how we can help.
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About the Author

Technical Manager - Often referred to as the Oracle or the Sage, Alistair has a wealth of financial services experience. He is our go-to Technical Manager and enjoys nothing more than a complicated conundrum. Feel free to test his renowned knowledge by getting in touch.

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