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The first anniversary of the implementation of SMCR for solo-regulated investment firms is upon us, and the deadline for updating the FCA’s new directory of certified and assessed persons is looming ever closer.
This represents a significant milestone in the transition from the Approved Persons Regime by expanding the scope of the publicly available Financial Services Register to also include Directory Persons data for individuals who are not performing Senior Management Functions (SMFs).
The directory is intended to help strengthen the financial market, preventing unsuitable individuals from working in the sector where they have the potential to cause harm. This is expected to benefit firms by providing customers and clients with reputational transparency; and supporting informed hiring decisions. Similarly, the FCA will benefit from access to additional information that is valuable for monitoring, supervisory and market intelligence purposes.
From 31 March 2021, firms will need to ensure that the FCA directory contains up to date details of their Certified Individuals as well as non-executive directors (unless they perform an SMF such as the role of Chair) and Appointed Representatives of the firm. Firms can either submit these details individually or on a bulk upload basis, both of which are done through the FCA Connect system. Firms wishing to make use of the bulk upload facility must complete their submissions between 11 January and 18 March 2021. Details can be found on the FCA website here: Directory of Certified and Assessed Persons.
Working backwards from the March 2021 deadlines, it is important to allow enough time to gather all the information that needs to be submitted for each individual, such the relevant roles held and their unique identifiers. Now may therefore be good time to make a start on the directory update process, including the completion of certifications and the verification of employee details.
On an ongoing basis, firms are responsible for making sure all submitted information is updated within seven business days of any relevant change in circumstance. Firms will also need to reconfirm the validity of their directory information at least once every twelve months, noting that reconfirmation is not automatic and will need manual intervention using the Connect system.
Getting all of this information right is critical as late or inaccurate submissions could incur an administrative fee, penalties or other disciplinary measures. We can help you prepare and submit your directory updates and are also on hand to answer any questions you may have about the process involved. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.