FCA outlines WFH rules under the senior managers regime

Each firm’s designated Senior Manager or equivalent person is responsible for identifying which of their employees are unable to perform their jobs from home, and have to travel to the office or business continuity site, according to guidance issued by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This, the watchdog said, applies to all FCA-regulated firms across the UK, including in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, adding that it expects the total number of roles requiring an "ongoing physical presence in the office or business continuity site" to be minimal.

"All firms should be clear that coronavirus...constitutes a public health emergency. As the regulator of the UK financial services industry, we strongly support the UK Government’s efforts to protect the public by ensuring only those workers who cannot work from home, continue to travel to and from work," it stated.

"The UK government has made clear that employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working."

The FCA said it did not expect the following to go into work or meet face to face, and made clear that exceptions to these rules will be low:

⦁ financial advisers, as they can offer their services online or by phone;
⦁ staff who can safely and securely trade shares and financial instruments from home;
⦁ business support staff, such as those in IT where they can triage issues from home, unless they are looking after specific equipment or technology;
⦁ claims management companies and those selling non-essential goods and credit.

Welcoming the announcement, Matthew Connell (pictured), director of policy and engagement at the Chartered insurance Institute, said: “At a time when firms and advisers will be unsure of whether or not they need to be travelling into the office, the FCA’s use of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime to indicate both what senior managers should be doing, but also how best to support their colleagues, is a welcome intervention.”

“Many insurance and personal finance professionals will be carrying out vital work on behalf of their customers, to ensure their queries are answered, that their policies remain intact and that their claims are answered fairly.”

“Therefore, we think it is only right that despite the important work they are doing, their health and well-being is a priority and are glad the regulator is doing all it can to support this.”

“The Chartered Insurance Institute will continue to work with government and the regulator, to ensure the latest guidance is shared with our members and how best they can follow it.”

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