It took a while but the FCA has finally addressed the elephant in the room…
On 30 June 2020, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the FCA published a press release confirming that the deadline for FCA solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first round of fit and proper testing for certified employees has been delayed from 9 December 2020 until 31 March 2021.
In addition, to ensure consistency with other SM&CR deadlines, the FCA confirmed that it intends to consult on extending the deadline for the following requirements from 9 December 2020 to 31 March 2021:
- the date the Conduct Rules come into force;
- the deadline for submission of information to the FCA Directory; and
- references in the FCA’s rules to the deadline for assessing Certified Persons as fit and proper.
The FCA cautions firm that they should continue with their programmes of work in these areas and, if they are able to certify staff earlier than March 2021, they should do so. In addition, the FCA is clear that firms should not wait to remove staff who are not fit and proper from certified roles.
As far as the FCA Directory is concerned, the FCA confirmed that it still intends to publish details of certified employees from 9 December 2020 (the original deadline) and encourages firms to provide it with the necessary information before March 2021 where they are able to do so.
The Certification Regime and FCA Directory requirements do not apply to benchmark administrators, so no change is proposed to the original implementation date (7 December 2021) for this phase of the SM&CR.