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.