In recognition of the additional pressures faced by some firms as a result of coronavirus, the Financial Conduct Authority has agreed to extend the deadline for completing fit and proper assessments of Certified Persons under the Senior Managers & Certification Regime. This deadline has now been extended from December 9 2020 to March 31 2021.

If they need the extra time, firms, therefore, have eight more months to assess whether the relevant employees are fit and proper to carry out their roles.

The FCA’s announcement of the extension does have some important caveats though:

  • If a firm is able to complete the certification process prior to March 2021, it should still do so. The FCA will still publish details of firms’ assessments of Certified Persons on the Register from December 9, as and when these assessments are completed and notified to the regulator
  • If a firm knows or suspects that an individual in a Certification role is not fit and proper, then the FCA’s announcement does not give it permission to wait until March to take action, and it is still expected to remove the individual from their role prior to this

The proposed deadline extension remains subject to a formal consultation.

The Certification Regime is the middle tier of the SM&CR. It applies to individuals within a firm who are not Senior Managers, but who still hold positions of responsibility, especially if their actions could have a significant impact on whether a firm’s customers are treated fairly. There is no need for individuals in Certification roles to be approved by the FCA, however, firms are still required to carry out their own annual fit and proper assessments.

Suggested examples of staff who might be covered by the Certification Regime include:

  • Head of HR
  • Head of Complaints Handling
  • Head of Product Design
  • Others with some form of supervisory responsibility

The FCA suggests that a fit and proper assessment of a person in a Certification role might include:

  • Criminal records checks
  • Obtaining regulatory references
  • Knowledge tests

An assessment of fitness and propriety must consider the individual’s honesty, integrity and reputation; competence and capability; and financial soundness.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware of the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.