FCA sets date for introduction of senior manager regime

FCA sets date for introduction of senior manager regime

The Financial Conduct Authority has revealed that the senior managers regime will come into effect in December next year.

In near-final rules published today, the FCA has said the new regime will come into effect on 9 December 2019.

Previously the FCA had only said the regime was expected to be introduced in "mid-to-late 2019".

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The rules have been published following a consultation last year but are still subject to the introduction of rules by HM Treasury - though the FCA is not expecting significant changes.

Under the 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.

This will need to be approved by the FCA when it is first filled out and when there are changes to it.

The regime sets out a series of "prescribed responsibilities" which firms will need to give their senior managers, but sole traders will be subject to a more limited regime while larger firms will have more responsibilities.

Late last year the FCA also revealed that appointed representatives would not be subject to the regime because the regulator lacks the legal power to impose it on them.

In its policy statement, the FCA said: "The vast majority of these responses supported our proposals. Many respondents also asked for further clarification on how the rules apply. We also received some suggestions for changes to the proposed rules.

"In general, we intend to implement the consultation proposals, but will make some changes in response to this feedback."

Among the changes the FCA has made is the provision of an easier process for firms to tell the regulator they wish to voluntarily move to a higher regime tier, and lengthening the time period from six to 12 months for a firm to implement the enhanced tier.

The regime sets out a number of senior management functions including chief executive, partner, compliance oversight and money laundering reporting officer.

Sole trader firms with no employees – which fall into a category called 'limited scope firms' – will only need to have the compliance oversight rules.

There are seven 'prescribed responsibilities' – which will not apply to limited scope firms – including making sure the firm carries out its senior managers regime obligations, making sure it complies with the conduct rules and making sure it complies with the certification regime.

The FCA has made clear that firms which outsource some operational functions will remain fully responsible for its obligations under this regime, adding that responsibility cannot be outsourced and firms will have to explain who this responsibility is allocated among its senior managers.