The Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) has now been extended to all authorised firms to replace the Approved Persons Regime.

The new regime, which came into place on 9th December 2019 introduces different standards for different types of firm:

  • Core Regime: This is a baseline requirement which will apply to almost every firm.
  • Enhanced Regime: This will apply an additional set of requirements to larger firms (approximately 350) whose size, complexity and potential impact on customers warrants more attention.
  • Limited Scope Regime: This will apply to all firms that currently apply the Approved Persons Regime on a limited basis, for example sole traders.

SMCR itself covers three areas:

  • Senior Managers:  This covers anyone who undertakes a Senior Management Function. Each senior manager will have a Duty of Responsibility and a Statement of Responsibility but there is no need for a responsibilities map or handover procedures.
  • Certification Regime:  This covers people who are not senior managers but whose job means it is possible for them to cause significant harm to the firm or its customers. For example, algorithmic trading, client dealing, CASS oversight etc. These individuals will not be approved by the FCA but the firm must ensure are certified as fit and proper on at least an annual basis.
  • Conduct Rules: These basic rules apply to all employees except ancillary staff who do not perform a role specific to financial services. There are five high level obligations which apply to all, and an additional four obligations for senior managers.

What does SMCR mean for me?

All firms should consider how their internal governance processes meet the requirements. For anyone running a financial services firm and who had approved person responsibilities under the old regime the implications of non-compliance are severe. So understanding the regulator’s expectations now the deadline has passed, and what this means in practice for your firm is key. Things to consider include:

  • Who are your senior managers and what are their core responsibilities?
  • Are these properly documented and can you articulate these clearly to the regulator?
  • Do your governance arrangements align with the new regime?

We can help

SMCR didn’t finish on 9th December. Whether you’re confident you got over the line, or feel you have more to do, we can help guide you through the trickiest areas of SM&CR. We can review your SMCR project, undertake a health check of your current processes and documentation, provide training on senior management responsibilities, as well as offering practical tips to achieve compliance. We’ve been working closely with clients over the last year to get ready for the regime and before that, had worked with banks to get over the line.  We can:

  • project manage your SM&CR implementation
  • review your existing governance framework and suggest any required changes or refinements
  • provide SME advice on the regime and how to implement the new requirements
  • facilitate workshops to get the appropriate buy-in and engagement from key stakeholders (for example the SMFs)
  • provide training on the new regime and what it means for individuals affected
  • provide the required conduct rule training for staff at all levels within the business
  • help prepare and draft individual statements of responsibilities and management responsibilities maps
  • define and articulate the key processes to underpin the new regime.

And for smaller firms we have SMCR-in-a-box packages to make sure you’re compliant without the fuss.  Get in touch to see how we can help.

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