FCA to compromise on accreditations on new directory

FCA to compromise on accreditations on new directory

The Financial Conduct Authority has come to a compromise on the use of professional accreditations in its new directory.

Last year the FCA published proposals for a new directory of individuals and firms to replace its existing register.

But its original proposals faced criticism because the directory would not show whether an individual has membership of any professional body, achieved any professional standard or whether they hold a valid statement of professional standing with an accredited body.

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This prompted criticism from the Chartered Body Alliance, which is made up of the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments and the Chartered Banker Institute.

In response, the FCA agreed to highlight when an adviser has a connection to an accredited body and signpost where a potential client might find more information, but it has said it prefers not to include more details directly on its register to avoid confusion.

The FCA stated: "We agree there are benefits to firms giving us information on accredited body membership for relevant customer facing roles requiring qualification.

"By including information on accredited body membership on the directory, customers can get more information about an individual from the relevant body (including their SPSs, qualification and accreditation level) where they have decided to make this public. We will signpost this on the directory as an external resource.

"We have decided not to include more detailed information on individuals' SPS, qualifications and accreditation level on the directory as this risks confusing consumers.

"For example, accredited bodies do not currently use consistent language when describing comparable levels of accreditation (eg fellow, member, Chartered etc) making comparisons difficult for most consumers."

The directory is being created to address the problem caused by the introduction of the senior managers regime, which will 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.

When launched the directory, which will run alongside the existing register, 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.

Following a consultation, the FCA has also agreed to extend the amount of time firms and individuals have to update their information with the regulator.

Originally, the FCA had proposed giving firms one business day - or three in exceptional circumstances - to make minor changes but it has now agreed to extend this to a single deadline of seven business days.