Pensions  

Bankhall launches SM&CR support hub

Bankhall launches SM&CR support hub

Bankhall has launched a support hub to help directly authorised advisers with the implementation of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime that will come into force later this year.

The SM&CR will become applicable to all firms regulated by the FCA across pensions, investments, mortgages and protection.

Through the hub advisers can gain an overview of the SM&CR and learn how firms will fall into the different tiers of the regime, which will be determined by the size and structure of each firm.

Carl Wallis, head of group compliance at Bankhall, said: "We believe it’s important that firms start to prepare early for the SM&CR to fully understand the impact on their businesses, which is why we have launched the hub now.

"We’re already working with firms on a one to one basis to help them understand what the SM&CR means for their individual businesses.

"We know that larger firms, in particular, risk running out of time if they don’t engage and understand the work involved, as it’s likely to lead to fundamental discussions at a senior level in terms of governance structures and the boundaries of responsibility for each individual senior manager."

The SM&CR aims to increase individual accountability to establish exactly who is responsible for what within firms.

Mr Wallis added: "One of the key things we would stress is that implementation should be much more than a compliance exercise; treating it as such largely misses the point of the regime, which is about ownership, accountability and the culture that exists across all senior managers within each firm."

The hub will also set out how all the elements of the new regime will apply to the three different tiers: limited scope, core and enhanced.

Firms will be able to establish which tier applies to their firm, along with the actions they need to take to comply with the new regime. 

Bankhall stated it would continue to develop its SM&CR hub to provide firms with additional assistance in complying with the regime, which will be implemented on December 9, 2019.

This will include videos and frequently asked questions from firms, along with practical examples, such as statements of responsibility.

Alan Lakey, director at Berkhamsted-based IFA Highclere Financial Services and director at CIExpert, said: "It is increasingly difficult for smaller firms to operate within the plethora of rule changes, initiatives and other regulatory initiatives. Many will welcome assistance from third party firms.

"We make use of third party input but, in my experience, the various disparate support groups rarely agree on how to remain compliant because it is all about interpretation."

In a video posted by the regulator yesterday (February 7) bankers shared their views on what advisers should look out for under the new regulation.

Bankers were already subjected to the regime in 2016, followed by insurers in 2018.

aamina.zafar@ft.com