The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced further support to solo regulated firms by delaying the deadline for such firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons from 9 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. This will give time to firms who are particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis to make the changes they need.

The FCA will also 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 about Directory Persons to the Register
  • references in the FCA rules to the deadline for assessing Certified Persons as fit and proper (which has been agreed by the Treasury)

The FCA notes that Senior Managers must ensure that Conduct Rules training is effective, so that staff are aware of the Conduct Rules and understand how they apply to them in their jobs. These programmes will require planning, time and effort to deliver effectively and the FCA is planning to produce further communications about its expectations in this area.

Firms should continue with their programmes of work in these areas and, the regulator has said that if firms are able to certify staff earlier than March 2021, they should do so. Firms should not wait to remove staff who are not fit and proper from certified roles.

The FCA will still publish details of certified employees of solo firms starting from 9 December 2020 on the Financial Services Register.

The Certification Regime and reporting of Directory Persons do not apply to benchmark administrators, so the FCA does not intend to move the deadline for benchmark administrators.

Benchmark administrators have until December 2021 to train non-Senior Manager staff in the Conduct Rules and the FCA is not planning to extend this deadline.