"The new Directory will help consumers to protect themselves from unauthorised individuals by clearly and easily identifying individuals who have been banned by the FCA."
The FCA has announced the final rules for a new public register that enables consumers and firms to find information on individuals working in financial services.
The FCA says its Directory, which is expected to launch in March 2020, will ensure customers only deal with individuals who are authorised, suitable and have appropriate qualifications.
Users will be able to search for information on all directors and senior managers and other individuals who undertake business with clients and require a qualification to do so.
The final rules set out today require firms to report "timely and accurate information" about their Directory Persons. The FCA says firms will need to take all necessary action to gather the required information and ensure its accuracy prior to submission.
Banking firms and insurers can start submitting data on Directory individuals using the FCA’s Connect system or the multi-entry facility around September 2019. All other firms can start submitting data as of 9 December 2019 following commencement of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime for solo-regulated firms.
Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision - retail and authorisations at the FCA, said: "The new Directory will help consumers to protect themselves from unauthorised individuals by clearly and easily identifying individuals who have been banned by the FCA. It will also help firms to understand the employment history of candidates when hiring."
When the new Directory was announced in October 2018 the AMI raised "several concerns", questioning the need for a new directory when the existing FCA register is being made 'easier to use and understand'.
It added that the Money Advice Service already provides a tool for consumers to find advisers and believes "it would be confusing to have an updated and more user-friendly register running alongside the version it is supposed to supersede".
The AMI said: "Consumers can already search for advisers of equity release through MAS, but not mortgage advisers. Due to interlinking consumer needs and continued innovation in products (e.g. retirement interest-only mortgages), being able to find mortgage advisers within this existing list would be a sensible progression."