From 9 December 2020 the FCA will start publishing data relating to “Directory Persons”*.
A phased introduction begins on 26 November 2020, but all firms must complete their first submissions by 31 March 2021 at the latest.
As part of the push to keep the FCA Directory up-to-date, firms must notify the FCA of any changes to their Directory data within seven days. In addition, SUP 16.26.18R states that, where a firm has not submitted any FCA Directory reports in the previous 12 months, it must submit a ‘nil return’ report to the FCA. As part of this report, the firm must confirm that the information previously reported by the firm in respect of its Directory Persons remains accurate and up-to-date.
On 12 October 2020 the FCA published version 1.0 of its “User guide: Adding or amending individual directory persons data”. This guide explains how users of the FCA’s Connect System can either add, or amend, Directory data pertaining to a single individual. On the same day, the FCA also published “User Guide: Data Attestation for Directory persons”. This guide explains how firms should complete their ‘nil return’ attestations through the FCA’s Connect System. Presumably, a guide on how to make multiple additions or amendments to Directory data will follow in the near future.
The FCA makes clear within both of the User Guides that the onus in on the firm to ensure that its FCA Directory data submissions are correct. It specifically states that “firms who do not maintain an up-to-date record of Directory Persons could be in breach of our reporting rules in SUP 16.26 and supervisory or enforcement action may be taken”. The declaration that firms are required to make before completing a submission also provides a reminder that it is a criminal offence under section 398 and 400 of FSMA 2000 to, knowingly or recklessly, give the FCA and/or PRA information that is materially false, misleading or deceptive.
Keeping a firm’s FCA Directory submissions up-to-date and accurate requires the firm to constantly monitor multiple data points about each member of staff. In practice, the real challenge lies not so much in reporting a change in FCA Directory data, but in understanding whether or not a change has occurred in the first place.
Let us take the pain of this away from you.
Corterum’s workflow engine will automatically alert you if any of your FCA Directory data changes – enabling you to make a ‘nil return’ safe in the knowledge that a robust process supports the veracity of your declaration.
If changes have occurred, simply run the “FCA Directory Report” within Corterum – pre-formatted in the FCA’s preferred template – highlighting exactly where those changes have occurred. Updating your FCA Directory data then becomes a simple, speedy and error-free exercise.
See the system in action here:
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* Broadly, “Directory Persons” includes:
- All Certification staff; and
- Non-senior manager directors (both executive and non-executive); and
- Sole traders who are customer-facing and require a qualification to perform their role; and
- Customer-facing Appointed Representatives of SMCR firms who require a qualification to perform their role.