In December, because of the Coronavirus, HM Treasury delayed the deadline for solo-regulated firms - i.e. firms regulated solely by the Financial Conduct Authority - to have undertaken their first assessments of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons until today.
Sean Lam, the CEO of Walker Crips Group plc, commented on the SM&CR certification deadline and the outlook for regulation in the year ahead.
“The deadline is upon us. Solo-regulated firms must certify that everyone who performs a certification function is fit and proper to perform it and consider their integrity, competence and financial soundness. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but the process requires assessment of each individual’s conduct, their particular function, requirements, qualifications, appropriate continual professional training, track record, disciplinary history, and relevant background checks. Adequate records of this assessment must be readily available for review by the authorities.
“This regime is intended to be continuous, not a one-off project. Each certificate issued by a firms is valid for a period of twelve months, beginning with the day on which it is issued. Therefore, certification appraisals and reviews must be conducted at least annually.
“Regulated firms have the responsibility to certify, or in some cases not to certify, individuals. This responsibility normally rests with the CEO, who should have a team of skilled and experienced individuals with the delegated responsibility to assess, monitor, review, test and supervise certificated individuals.
“If this power to certify is used frivolously, individuals who should not be advising customers could cause significant harm to customers, to the firm and could bring disrepute to the industry.”