Simon Hills, Director, Prudential Policy, UK Finance
Today’s announcement by the FCA that it is reconsidering the future of the Financial Services Register is very welcome news.
The Register is a publicly available record of firms and individuals that are, or have been in the past, authorised by the FCA or PRA. It provides a mechanism to check what sort of regulated activity individuals or firms can undertake and if they have been suspended from doing so at any point.
The proposal to restrict the Register was trailed during the regulators’ consultations, prior to the introduction of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) in the banking sector in March 2016. This approach to greater individual accountability, which UK Finance very much supports, is being rolled out to insurers by the end of this year and to all other regulated firms by the end of 2019.
We expressed our concern at the ending of a Register entry for most of the bankers that were previously on it. This reduction in coverage occurs as under the SMCR only the senior managers of banks – broadly the Board and Executive Committee – are now subject to pre-approval by the PRA and FCA. Their names, and the functions they are authorised to perform, remain on the Register. But bankers who were previously on the Register because they were FCA ‘approved persons’ have transitioned to being ‘Certified Persons’. Now their employer annually confirms their ‘fitness and proprietary’, but although they are certified as being competent their names no longer appear on the Register.
This reduction in transparency means it is impossible for a customer or potential customer, or employer or potential employer, to fully check a person’s employment history in regulated firms and whether, for instance, they can provide mortgage or investment advice.
So I am delighted that the FCA has listened to industry feedback and is planning to restore Certified Persons’ details to the Register and to make it more user friendly for consumers. My colleagues and I at UK Finance look forward to working with the FCA to design a new and improved Register.