Regulatory references are central to the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR). They help firms make informed decisions about the fitness and propriety of individuals to whom they intend to assign Senior Management or Certification Functions (or appoint as non-approved Non-Executive Directors).
In response to feedback on the challenges firms face when obtaining regulatory references, the FCA has published the following clarifications on some key points.
- You should request, and respond to requests for, regulatory references promptly. Although SYSC 22 includes guidance that they should be provided within 6 weeks, this is a limit, not a target.
- When providing regulatory references, use the template in SYSC 22 Annex 1. Ensure the template is complete and the information provided is accurate, before sending it. Failing to use the correct template or sending incomplete or inaccurate information can cause delays.
- Firms need only take reasonable steps to obtain regulatory references. If you experience difficulties obtaining regulatory references from a particular firm, tell us. If you are unable to obtain regulatory references as part of an application, set out the steps you took to obtain references – this will help avoid delays during the application assessment.
- You should assess regulatory references on a case-by-case basis and individuals shouldn’t be automatically rejected due to a qualification in their references. You also shouldn’t have a quota for the number of qualified references you will accept, as we understand is sometimes the case.