Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Biba tells brokers not to panic about the senior management regime

Britain's financial watchdog has broadened the scope of rules aimed at cleaning up banking culture Britain's financial watchdog has broadened the scope of rules aimed at cleaning up banking culture
Orlando Vargas | 26 July, 2017, 19:33

United Kingdom regulators have pledged to bear in mind concerns over how quickly companies will be able to implement new rules boosting personal accountability in the financial sector, as they unveiled plans to extend the rules to around 47,000 firms.

All elements of the new rules will also be rolled out for insurers, which now adhere to requirements under a revised version of the FCA's Approved Persons Regime and the Prudential Regulation Authority's Senior Insurance Managers Regime.

The Senior Managers Regime or SMR was introduced for top bankers in March 2016 to try to improve behavior after banks were hit with hefty fines for trying to rig the Libor interest rate benchmark and currencies.

The FCA said the responsibilities of senior managers will be clearly set out and, should something in their area of responsibility go wrong, they can be held to account personally.

The FCA defined senior managers as "the most senior people in a firm with the greatest potential to cause harm or impact upon market integrity".

"Firms are already flat-out tackling other regulatory issues such as MiFID II, the Insurance Distribution Directive, PRIIPs and GDPR, let alone managing the uncertainty of Brexit so the FCA must be pragmatic in its approach, expectations and deadlines".

Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision - retail and authorisations at the FCA, said: "Culture and governance in financial services and its impact on consumer outcomes is a priority for the FCA".

"The goal of making a particular function a senior management function is so we know who a firm's most senior decision makers are, and to make sure firms clearly allocate responsibilities to those key decision makers", it said.

The regulator said it had chose to tailor the regime to the various firms it regulates and the risk they posed to consumers and the market, as opposed to implementing a one-size-fits-all regime.

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"The FCA must also be cognisant of the fact that many asset and wealth managers have European Union or global footprints, and striking a balance between driving accountability in those who are responsible, without unduly affecting head-office staff is important".

The regulator also reaffirmed its commitment to making the regime proportionate to the size of firms with a "core regime" affecting a minority.

This focuses on the most senior people in the firm.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority said insurers should be held to the same rules to "reflect the important roles of underwriters and actuaries in the running of insurance firms".

'We also note that there have been some preliminary concerns raised with us about the fact that people performing certification functions will not appear on a public register.

The consultation closes in November.

As with banks, more junior staff will have to be "certified" by the firms for fitness, skill and propriety at least annually.

In terms of the timeframe for the new regime, the Treasury has said it wants it to be in place in 2018.

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