The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has once again placed senior managers in the limelight. This time, however, senior managers will be the ones under heat if a firm engages in misconduct.
“We have given clarity on rules that will embed personal accountability into the culture of The City,” said Martin Wheatley, FCA chief executive, in a statement. “[The] new conduct rules will add further momentum to improving standards across the industry.”
The final rules covers three points: Senior Managers Regime (SMR); the Certification Regime; and the new Conduct Rules.
Under the SMR, the financial agency is encouraging top-level managers to provide a clear distribution of their responsibilities to key decision- makers, which will boost individual accountability through ongoing assessments by the firm and regulators.
Meanwhile, the new Certification Regime and Conduct Rules will ensure that “individuals working at all levels in banking” will also be held accountable. The Certification Regime, applies to all staff members who are in a position to “post significant harm to the firm or any of its customers” such as investment advisors. Companies will have implement procedures for assessing “fitness and propriety” of staff at financial institutions.
The Conduct Rules set out a basic standard for behavior that all those covered by the new regimes will be expected to meet. Part of a firms’ preparations will include that staff who are subjected to the new rules are aware of the new conduct rules and how they will be held accountable.
These new rules are based on recommendations from a 2013 report by U.K. lawmakers, which call for banks to revamp its culture and standards amid a series of scandals that recently gripped the industry.
Lately, the U.K. regulator has been turning up the heat in the banking sector by ensuring a strong tone in the middle.
The British watchdog and the Bank of England unveiled banker rules that could have bonuses clawed back even after a decade of being awarded, if the firm comes under regulatory scrutiny for “potential material failures.” Senior managers were at the center of the new rules as well: They now face a seven-year clawback period, while other staff members who fill supervisory roles will have to return up to five years of bonuses. If regulators uncover unethical activity or misconduct, chief executives and chairmen will run the risk of having their bonuses for up to 10 years clawed back.