Emma Ann Hughes  

FCA's version of death of a salesman

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

The regulator has pointed out rather than rolling your eyes at more red tape coming your way, why don't you see the Senior Managers and Certification Regime as an opportunity?

At last – with Senior Manager rules that will come into force for advisers in December 2019 – the FCA has given you the tools you need to get rid of that sales target-obsessed individual that led your business.

Telling advisers they should be getting ready for the new rules, David Blunt, head of conduct specialists at the Financial Conduct Authority, said: "Take the opportunity to think about who is in the top team.

"Are sales people who have risen to the top the right people to be leading today? There is an opportunity for firms to make changes."

Under the Senior Managers and Certification regime, bosses performing key roles need FCA approval before starting work and to receive a 'statement of responsibilities' that clearly says what they are responsible and accountable for.

Firms must also provide 'responsibilities maps', setting out the responsibilities of their senior managers, and their management and governance arrangements. 

At least once a year firms need to certify that senior managers are suitable to do their jobs.

So, what does the regulator’s remarks tell you about their views on your part of the industry and should you use the Senior Managers regime to cause the death of your salesmen?

You do get the sense that the regulator think sales equates to something having been mis-sold.

But – whisper it – some people like being sold to.

The high street may be quieter than it once was thanks to the likes of Amazon, but it will never be completely bereft of shops.

It would be wrong to totally kill off a sales culture – regulation shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

If sales people are so bad – and clearly there are still some appalling product pushers about – I believe it is cold hard cash, rather than regulation, that will one day kill these individuals off.

These days, while chilling on their sofa watching Netflix, few would welcome a knock on the door from the man from the Pru.

Culture at companies will change because those that don't copy the likes of Netflix and deliver a consistent service in a way that is convenient to the user, won't survive.

emma.hughes@ft.com