The Financial Conduct Authority is to allow certain advisers to carry over any uncompleted Continuing Professional Development hours to the next CPD year amid the coronavirus crisis.
In an update on its website yesterday (May 27), the City watchdog said while it expected most individuals to be able to continue completing their CPD during the pandemic, it recognised there could be “exceptional circumstances” when individuals may have difficulty gaining the required hours.
Such circumstances include individuals who need to carry out extra duties to manage risks or provide support during the current situation, have caring responsibilities such as caring for a partner, child or parent, or have difficulty accessing CPD material due to technical difficulties or unavailable material.
The FCA expected the situation to affect retail investment advisers who are required to get independent verification from an accredited body, and insurance distributors who must ensure each relevant employee completes 15 hours of professional training every 12 months.
To cater for this, the FCA will temporarily allow firms to carry over any uncompleted hours to the next 12-month period, as long as their CPD year ends before April 1, 2021.
The individual must then complete the carried-over CPD hours within the next CPD period, and the carried-over hours will be treated as part of the required hours for that next CPD year.
For example, if an adviser who is required to complete a minimum of 35 hours of CPD has completed 25 CPD hours and has two months left of the current CPD year, the firm may allow them to transfer 10 hours to their next CPD year. In the next CPD year, the adviser will need to complete 45 CPD hours.
The FCA said where firms had made the decision to carry over uncompleted CPD hours, it would treat the firm as having complied with the requirements for the current CPD period.
Firms should also record their decision — taking into account the adviser’s role and responsibilities, knowledge and skill development and the reasons why they are unable to complete the hours — but do not need to report this to the FCA.
It added it expected individuals to stay up to date with the Covid-19 regulatory developments which could count towards CPD as “relevant”. The regulator also urged firms to look into other available online ways for their staff to get the necessary CPD hours.
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