Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA register set for 5-day Brexit blackout

FCA register set for 5-day Brexit blackout

The regulator’s Financial Services Register is scheduled for a five-day outage over the new year while the watchdog makes Brexit-related changes.

In a statement on its website the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed the register would be unavailable from December 31, 2020 until January 4, 2021.

During the blackout, the regulator said it would be making changes related to Brexit in line with the UK reaching the end of the EU withdrawal transition period.

After the transition period, firms within the European economic area will be able to operate in the UK for a period due to the government’s temporary permissions regime.

However, such firms will not be authorised or assessed by the FCA or the Prudential Regulation Authority during these temporary periods.

There are also questions over how complaints and compensation requests could be managed, but the FCA expects providers to tell consumers if products or services are affected in any way.

In general, if a firm has temporary permissions, a consumer will be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

However, consumers will only be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme regarding a failed firm with temporary permissions if it has a UK branch or was covered by the lifeboat scheme before December 31.

During the register blackout, the FCA urged consumers to “take care to stay safe from scams” and to refrain from investing unless they were certain who they were dealing with.

The regulator also told investors to access its other services while the register was down, such as ScamSmart and its list of unauthorised firms.

The FCA revamped its register in July promising a "simpler design and clearer language" in a bid to protect consumers.

Under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, firms are required to submit data to be published as part of a directory of certified and assessed persons on the register. 

Submission to the directory, which was originally set to be published in March, was hit by delays linked to the coronavirus crisis and data processing and was pushed back to mid-December.

The latest update, which went live on December 14 and now includes details regarding professional memberships, was welcomed by the industry.

Last month, the register experienced a 62-hour blackout due to ongoing maintenance.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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