Treasury extends SM&CR implementation period for solo-regulated firms

Jessica Bird

July 2, 2020

HM treasury mortgage holidays extended

HM Treasury has agreed to extend the implementation period of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) to help firms significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The deadline for solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their certified persons has been delayed from 9 December 2020 until 31 March 2021.

To ensure SM&CR deadlines remain consistent, the FCA has confirmed that it will consult on this deadline extension and finalise its policy as soon as possible.

The FCA said that, as conduct rules training must be effective, these programmes will take time; it will therefore be producing further communications about its expectations.

It also confirmed that any firms that are able to certify staff earlier than March 2021 should proceed t do so.

Richard Nuttall, director of compliance policy at The SimplyBiz Group, said: “The FCA recognises some firms have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and this sympathetic approach, towards those individuals who have suffered as a direct consequence, must be applauded.

“Please do not however read this as a concession for all firms to delay their fit and proper assessments.

“We believe that the FCA will expect the majority of firms to be still working towards the 9 December deadline, and we would encourage firms, where possible, to aim to have these assessments completed and their certified persons uploaded to the directory by the original date of 9 December 2020.

“Whilst the regulator has not yet provided, and may not provide, a definition of how a firm might have been ‘significantly affected’ by COVID-19, we would suggest that [firms] thoroughly consider whether the impact on [them] could be categorised as significant before extending this deadline.

“Remember, only those persons certified as fit and proper and uploaded to the directory by 9 December 2020 will appear under the firm’s name.

“Above all else, keeping to the original deadline will give [firms] some small peace of mind that [their] responsibilities in this area have been met.

“We will review the consultation once published but our guess is that this will be a brief consultative period followed by immediate implementation.”

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