Regulation 

FCA bows to pressure on register

FCA bows to pressure on register

The Financial Conduct Authority has bowed to pressure on the future of the Financial Services Register and said it will put forward proposals to address concerns later this year.

It comes after trade bodies in the financial advice sector expressed concerns that the introduction of the senior managers regime would mean the register would cease to be of use to consumers.

As part of the regime, only senior managers were set to appear on the register with most financial advisers, portfolio managers, traders and non-executive directors to disappear from its pages.

But the FCA has now said that following "substantial feedback" on the value of a central public record of the people it regulates it will now consult on whether this is what it should do.

The FCA stated: "The FCA has listened to this feedback and will consult by summer 2018 on policy proposals to address this feedback."

Late last year the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (Pimfa) said the changes to the register as part of the senior managers regime were a "retrograde step".

Meanwhile the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment has said it would be "damaging" for firms and the public to be denied this single, reliable source of information.

Addressing today's statement, Cisi chief executive Simon Culhane said: "We warmly welcome and are encouraged by the FCA listening to public feedback. We would be pleased to work with them and share with them our proposal to modernise the register."

In today's (26 February) statement the FCA also said it would "shortly" be issuing an update on its work to improve the usability of the register.

This follows criticism of the register by MPs on the Work & Pensions select committee during their inquiry on the British Steel Pension Scheme after steelworkers said "you need some sort of degree" to establish from the register whether an adviser is suitable or not.

Pimfa has said the register has a number of shortcomings, including the "inadequate" search facility, the use of regulatory jargon and the lack of information on an individual's qualifications.

Under the senior managers regime, anyone who holds a senior management function at an advice firm will need to be approved by the FCA and every senior manager will need to fill out a statement of responsibilities explaining what they are responsible for.

The certification element of the regime will mean staff at firms that carry out some roles will have to be certified by the FCA, but firms will be responsible for this and these people will not appear on the register.

The regime had previously applied only to banks, building societies, credit unions and PRA-designated investment firms.

damian.fantato@ft.com