By end of January 2011 All firms holding client money or assets must apportion responsibility for CASS operational oversight to an appropriate senior manager or director performing a significant influence function (SIF) within the firm. The FSA must be notified of this apportionment by 31 January 2011. Firms subject to CASS will also need to confirm to the FSA by the end of this month the largest monthly client money balance and value of client assets they held during 2010 in order to enable the FSA to determine whether they are small, medium or large CASS firms.

By 1 October 2011 (applications may be submitted from May 2011) The FSA is introducing a new controlled function, CF10a, for CASS operational oversight (see Policy Statement 10/16). Large and medium CASS firms must receive approval for the CF10a function by 1 October 2011. Applications may be submitted from 1 May 2011.

A less burdensome regime will apply to small CASS firms, for which the default position will be that the holder of the compliance oversight function will be held responsible for CASS operational oversight unless the firm allocates that responsibility to a person approved to perform a SIF role and records that fact.

The responsibilities of a CF10a approved person will include developing, implementing and updating CASS-related policies, reporting to the firm's governing body on CASS compliance, and (for medium and large firms) approving and submitting the re-introduced CMAR.

Firms will need to ensure that the person put forward for the CF10a role has the requisite knowledge. It is likely that those applying for the CF10a role at larger firms with significant amounts of client assets will be interviewed by the FSA. The FSA is expecting interviews to be held for the 50 largest firms. The CF10a will need to have the authority and resources to operate effectively. This will mean that suitable internal reporting lines must be put in place and the CF10a approved person must be given sufficient authority to raise any concerns with the firm's governing body.

July 2011 All CASS firms will need to complete their first CMAR in July 2011, reporting data on their June 2011 holdings of client money and assets.

This article was first published on on 31 January 2011.