FCA unveils plans for directory of advisers

FCA unveils plans for directory of advisers

The Financial Conduct Authority has proposed creating a new directory of individuals and firms.

The directory is being created to address the problem caused by the introduction of the senior managers regime, which was set to mean only senior managers will appear on the FCA's register.

The prospect of large numbers of people - including most financial advisers, portfolio managers and traders - no longer being visible on the register had prompted concerns about consumers being more exposed to financial scams.

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When launched the directory will include information on all those who hold senior manager positions, which require FCA approval, and those whose roles require firms to certify that they are fit and proper, which do not.

It will include details of where they work, what roles they hold, what type of business they are qualified to do and whether there are any regulatory sanctions or prohibitions against them.

The creation of the directory is also aimed at meeting the recommendations of the Work & Pensions select committee, which highlighted flaws in the register during its inquiry into the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision for retail and authorisations at the FCA, said: "We’ve listened to feedback from firms and consumers about the importance of being able to check the status of financial services staff. Introducing the directory will make it easier for people to be confident they can find the right people to deal with.

"Today’s publications are all about making sure that consumers can interact confidently with financial services professionals by setting clear standards for the behaviour of those individuals, and making available information about their fitness and propriety. 

"The Senior Managers and Certification Regime sets clear standards for the conduct that consumers and regulators expect from all financial services staff.  These standards of behaviour are central to the FCA’s priority of promoting healthy cultures in firms."

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 (CISI) has said it would be "damaging" for firms and the public to be denied this single, reliable source of information.

Under its proposals, the FCA would host the directory and make it freely accessible to the public. Consumers would also be able to search for an individual or firm by location.

It would include senior managers, certified staff, sole traders, appointed representatives and directors who are not subject to the senior managers' regime.

Since the directory would mean making public information on individuals who do not currently appear on the register, the FCA has proposed introducing a requirement on firms to report certain information on these people, including any appointed representatives.