Following on from last month’s hive of activity from the FCA regarding Consumer Credit this month has seen a relatively quiet one news story wise.
In my role as a Director at The Association of Professional Compliance Consultants I have been in the city meeting with the FCA on several occasions over the last few weeks talking about Supervision and the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR).
Moving forward I am hoping to work more closely with the Supervision team as part of the joint APCC/FCA Consumer Credit working group of which I am chair, to help them understand the challenges firms are facing and likewise aid them in communicating their message to the regulated firms.
- Regarding SM&CR I met with members of the team who put together the Consultation Paper (CP17/25) and we discussed how firms were generally still finding it difficult to understand what their specific requirements would be and were more interested in understanding what they would need to do to transition individuals from the old Approved Person regime to the new Senior Managers one, the FCA team were very much focused on firms understanding the cultural shift for the new regime rather than the specifics of how the transition will work.
- There will be a technical paper released probably sometime in November / December with an overview of how this will work in practice. They said that the focus was not to make firms re-apply again for all their current Approved Persons where possible however quite clearly there are additional responsibilities individuals will have which will need documenting and providing to the regulator.
- They made it very clear that training would play a big part in the overall ethos of SM&CR and that would be right from the front-line staff dealing with consumer to the Approved Persons themselves and that this was an ongoing requirement which needs renewing at least annually.
As I announced in last month’s newsletter we will be launching an e-learning platform in quarter 4 2017 so that firms can start preparing themselves for the training element of SM&CR, at this stage I expect the final policy statement to come out in the summer of 2018 although no official date has yet been confirmed by the Treasury regarding the implementation date. We will also be looking to provide our ongoing support clients with SM&CR reviews so they can identify what documentation they will require for the new Senior Management Functions.
I know that a lot of credit brokers have already started to see requests to complete online surveys on behalf of the FCA as part of the thematic work they are doing in relation to Consumer Credit, they appear to particularly focus on how the finance is sold at point of sale and what explanations of the agreements are being given. If you have received a request to complete one of these surveys please do so as soon as you possibly can as not be doing so will receive unwanted attention from the regulator as to why you can’t or won’t answer their questions.
The FCA annual fee invoice emails have started to go out this week and you will need to login to their online invoicing system to download the invoice and make payment accordingly.
Mr Ian Beardmore