SMCR review could be welcome news for advisers

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SMCR review could be welcome news for advisers

The government is set to publish a call for evidence on the Senior Managers and Certification Regime in the coming weeks.

As reported by FTAdviser, it had scheduled to do so by the end of Q1 2023. 

In December, unveiling the so-called Edinburgh Reforms, the government said it would publish the call for evidence alongside a separate joint discussion paper by the regulators.

These reviews will cover the effectiveness, scope, and proportionality of the regime, which is currently set out in primary legislation and the regulators’ handbooks.

FTAdviser understands this will be an open review, seeking feedback on the overall aims of the regime as well as on more specific aspects including its scope and whether it affects the UK’s competitiveness.

The regime can leave self-employed advisers exposed as their ability to offer advisory services to clients is wholly dependent on a firm’s decision to certify them.Jill Lorimer, Kingsley Napley

This may in turn help those advisers who have found themselves stuck between a regulatory rock and a legal hard place when the business for which they work has refused to certify or re-certify them since the SMCR came in.

One adviser, known to FTAdviser as Adviser A, said they were left in a difficult position with no recourse but to take legal action, after selling the business to a successor who refused to certify them to continue working through their phased retirement.

The adviser who now owns the business did not provide reasoning for why Adviser A would not be certified, and has left the former owner with no recourse but to take it to the courts - a costly option, as reported previously. 

Conduct rule complexity

When SMCR was launched, firms needed to ensure individual IFAs in the firm had a sound knowledge of the Conduct Rules, which had been drawn up but more work would need to be done before final certification on December 9, 2020.

One industry expert took to Twitter and said SMCR has undoubtedly been a pain to implement but it is here now and has cost a lot for firms to onboard.

According to the regulations, under section 63F of the Act, if, after having considered if a person is fit and proper to perform an FCA certification function, a firm decides not to issue a certificate to that person, the firm must give the person a notice in writing stating:

  • what steps (if any) the firm proposes to take in relation to the person as a result of the decision; and
  • the reasons for proposing to take those steps.