New financial services directory rules announced

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From March 2020, key individuals working in the financial industry will appear in a new financial services directory. The directory will include any individual who carries out work for just about every single financial services firm that is regulated by the FCA. It’s intended to help firms and customers check credentials of the professionals with whom they wish to engage.

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A directory of fit and proper persons

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says that regularly publishing the directory will give customers assurance that they’re dealing with an individual who is “fit and proper” and that they have the appropriate qualifications for the services that individual provides. It will serve as a valuable resource for firms when hiring as it will help when cross-checking for references, as well as verifying the employment history of prospective employees. Firms will also be expected to include details of their own key employees on the register.

Users will be able to search for details on directors, senior managers and any staff certified or qualified to take on business with clients. Not only will the directory help identify suitable professionals, but it will also help users avoid unauthorised individuals.

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FCA Executive Director of Supervision for Retail and Authorisations Jonathan Davidson explained that users can easily identify any individual who has insufficient qualifications or has been banned by the FCA.

Greater scrutiny

Planning the directory has been in the works since July 2018, beginning with a consultation, and it will be ready for data to be submitted by banking and insurance firms from September 2019. The directory will then be open for all other firms in the financial industry to submit their data, beginning on the 9th December 2019, coinciding with the rollout of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime for solo regulated firms (firms regulated by the FCA only).

Now more than ever, advisers need to provide an excellent financial advisory service. Specially designed software for IFAs and other financial professionals helps deal with day-to-day tasks and comply with regulations so professionals can concentrate on their clients. Good software for IFAs can be found at Intelliflo and similar providers.

Data can be submitted through the FCA’s Connect system or their multi-entry system. More information on how firms should go about submitting their data, including more precise dates, will be available from the FCA soon.