"Assessing competence and capability, in some cases, has proven to be quite a challenge and Covid-19 has greatly impacted the ability of firms to implement the necessary changes."
The FCA has extended certification requirements under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime until March 2021.
The deadline for solo-regulated firms to have undertaken the first assessment of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons has been delayed from 9 December 2020 until 31 March 2021.
The FCA says this will give firms significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic time to make the changes they need.
The FCA is also consulting on extending the date the Conduct Rules come into force and the deadline for submission of information about Directory Persons to the Register.
The regulator stressed that senior manages must ensure that Conduct Rules training is effective, so that staff are aware of the Conduct Rules and understand how they apply to them in their jobs.
In a statement, the FCA said firms should continue with their programmes of work in these areas and, if they are able to certify staff earlier than March 2021, they should do so. Firms should not wait to remove staff who are not fit and proper from certified roles.
The FCA will still publish details of certified employees of solo firms starting from 9 December 2020 on the Financial Services Register.
Maurice McDonald, managing consultant and head of conduct and controls at Bovill, commented: “Bovill welcomes this change from the FCA. We know there are a number of firms that were some way behind schedule with implementing the Certification aspects of the regime. Assessing competence and capability, in some cases, has proven to be quite a challenge and Covid-19 has greatly impacted the ability of firms to implement the necessary changes.
“Whilst this gives firms a little wriggle room, they should not assume that this window will be extended again or that they can put this change on the back-burner. As we see things start to settle down into the ‘new normal’ in the next few months, firms need to recognise that implementation timescales may need re-planning, but they will need to be delivered.”