Mortgage advisers to be included in new FCA Directory

The FCA has finalised its plans to set up a new Directory for financial services workers, including mortgage advisers, which will include details of membership of accredited bodies for the first time.

This means that, alongside details of the advice firm that appear, advisers in customer-facing roles will have their membership of bodies appear on their records.

The Directory, which is due to be published in March 2020, will also include a list of all the types of business the individual is qualified to undertake and whether they will interact face-to-face, online or over the phone.

The FCA says it received around 500 responses to its consultation, with 99 per cent being in favour of setting up the Directory. A number suggested improvements, in light of which the FCA made a number of changes to their original plans, including adding the accredited body memberships and customer engagement methods available.

The Directory will also include a “health warning” to alert consumers where a firm’s listing may be out of date, for example if it had not updated its information in at least 12 months.

The Senior Managers and Certification regime is due to be extended to all firms later this year, including financial advisers, requiring senior managers to be approved by the FCA, have documented lines of responsibilities, and then ensuring the competence of more junior staff themselves each year.

Currently, the Financial Services Register run by the FCA lists all staff in senior management, controlled functions and customer-facing roles.

While this will continue, it would contain fewer individuals, because, under the SMCR, only specified senior manager roles need to be approved by the FCA, and so only those would appear on the register.

Firms will be able to start inputting data to the Directory from 9 December, when the SMCR comes into force for all firms.

The FCA’s paper says: “Our aim is to empower customers and other stakeholders to make sure they only deal with senior management functions or those who an authorised firm has assessed as fit and proper, or otherwise suitable and those who have appropriate qualifications.”

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