On 27 January 2016, the FCA published a statement recognising the uncertainty as to whether in-house lawyers fall within the Senior Managers Regime (SMR), and whether regulator approval is required to appoint an individual with overall responsibility for a legal function.

The FCA noted that the ambiguity had been created, in part, by the fact that the role of general counsel had not been included in the FCA’s indicative list of activities and functions, but had also not been expressly excluded from the SMR.

Although the FCA noted that it would not be able properly to consult on the issue before the SMR comes into force on 7 March 2016, it advised that firms which have sought to make a decision, in good faith and based on the published rules and FCA communications, as to whether or not an individual requires approval, need not change their approach prior to the FCA’s clarification of the scope of the SMR.