The Financial Conduct Authority will offer advisers an extended deadline for submitting their Retail Mediation Activities Returns after its data system Gabriel was unavailable this week.
FTAdviser understands the regulator will give people more time to submit the return and waive any penalties for those who do not submit on time this week.
The RMAR — the core regulatory return submitted by firms who provide advice on mortgages, protection or investment products — is required twice a year, six weeks after the end of the firm’s half year.
Many advisers who operate within the April to April financial year would have finished their half year on October 31, and therefore have a December 12 (tomorrow) deadline for submitting their returns.
The regulator had planned a two-day outage for maintenance over the weekend but “technical issues” led to the reporting system being down for two extra days, only returning live this morning at 8.30am.
Typically if a firm fails to submit the return by the due date the FCA charges a fee of £250 per return. This can lead to enforcement action and authorisation cancellation if it persists.
But as Gabriel was down from Friday evening until Wednesday morning the regulator will waive the fee.
Nick Jackon, partner at Derbyshire IFA, said it was “the least” the FCA could do following the botched maintenance.
He said: “If [the FCA is] going to maintain the service, why do they choose to do it all the weekend before?
“Realistically most advice firms will take the whole six weeks to compile all the data they need so most would be aiming to submit at the weekend or early this week.”
Gabriel is the FCA's main regulatory data collection system, facilitating the collection of 500,000 submissions annually, across 120,000 users and 52,000 firms.
In July the regulator announced it was planning to replace the service and move to a new platform as it wanted to improve the way it collects data from firms.
The regulator made some changes to the system in July and September this year but has not yet announced when the switch the new platform will be taking place.
The FCA hopes the new system will be “efficient” and “easy-to-use” and early changes to the platform are expected to be technology focused, so initially there will be no change to the way data is provided by firms.
More significant changes will be made later on when the FCA has considered feedback from firms and advisers using the platform.
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