As the original deadline for submissions to the FCA Directory passes, Firms should be ensuring they are prepared to upload their data – and would be well advised to do so as soon as possible.

Since the expansion of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) to FCA solo-regulated firms this time last year, 2020 has seen the FCA launch its new Financial Services Register. As part of the anticipated roll-out of the new Register and the collection of information on “Directory Persons”, the FCA originally intended today to be the deadline for firms to complete their assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certification staff, and to upload relevant data. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, this deadline was extended until 31 March 2021.

The extension of the deadline has provided firms with some welcome breathing room as they continue to tackle the fall-out of the pandemic, but firms should ensure they make good use of the extra time to ensure they understand their obligations. Under the new regime, firms will need to ensure they have identified their relevant certification staff and conducted the mandated assessment of their fitness and propriety. This assessment of certification staff is separate to firms’ obligations to submit data on their “Directory Persons” to the Register. Directory Persons will include:

  • All certification employees;
  • Any director not conducting a senior management function; and
  • Most appointed representatives and their employees with customer facing functions.

The obligation to upload information to the Directory regarding appointed representatives will fall on the authorised principal.

For some firms, the number of Directory Persons, and the amount of information on those individuals, to be collected will present an extensive undertaking. The FCA requires the submission of not only personal details of Directory Persons, but also details of all of their roles (including start and end dates), relevant activities and memberships of accredited bodies. Firms opting to delay until into the New Year may well find themselves struggling to meet the new deadline, especially if contending with new post-Brexit work streams.

Given that the FCA’s Connect submission system is online (aside from a brief scheduled outage this coming weekend), and that the FCA intend to start publishing submitted Directory data from 14 December, firms who action their Directory submissions sooner rather than later will surely be thanking themselves as the end of this most difficult of financial years approaches.