With many businesses now considering a hybrid or remote work life, it is vital that regulated firms know where they stand in terms of remote working expectations. No matter where an individual might be working, it is vital that both they and the company that they work for remain compliant with regulations at all times. Here we have outlined the FCA remote work expectations.
To briefly sum up the expectations of the FCA, firms need to be able to actively show that their remote working or hybrid model does not impact the oversight, management, and control of their operations. In addition to this, the plans cannot be at the detriment to the customers of the firm.
The FCA has made it clear that their list of requirements is not exhaustive, and that they will consider each firm on a case-by-case basis. Though there will be no formal changes to regulations or a concrete implementation date, it is assumed that they shall be taking action henceforth.
Any firm that will be implementing remote working needs to ensure that they inform the regulator of all material changes. The normal High Level “Open and Honest” Principle (11) will continue to apply, but the following changes will also come into play.
Firms need to be able to demonstrate that their operations in a hybrid or remote environment will not adversely affect a number of areas. This includes their duty to their customers, and a continuing commitment to maintain compliance with the Threshold Requirements. This will include providing accurate regulatory returns and the maintenance of correct information on the Financial Services Register.
A commitment to complying with high-level statutory objectives as laid out by the Financial Services and Markets Act is a must. This can include taking steps to reduce financial crime stats, and to undertake adequate oversight of any and all outsourced functions to ensure that they are also compliant with the standards set out by regulations.
Expectations of FCA remote work cannot be introduced without some aspect of formal planning. Any proposal for a remote working structure needs to be reviewed by senior management, including the Board and other governing bodies if prudent. In addition to this, plans need to take into account the well-being of staff and how they might cope both mentally and productively when working from home.
It is vital that any and all legal and security risks are also assessed. Correct systems and controls need to be put in place to ensure that defences are in place and the correct business culture is maintained, whether the work-from-home period is temporary or a new and permanent addition to the company.
It is also important that firms are able to co-operate with the FCA and provide them with the materials that they require, even if they are working remotely. If a private address is used as an
address of the business temporarily, this could have several implications in terms of access for the FCA. Firms must be committed to allowing ease of access regardless of where they might be working from, and they must be able to supply the FC with records and notifications of material changes as easily as if they were from their office.
If a firm is applying for new authorisation with FCA remote working, they should be prepared to cover specific details in their application. This can include the precise arrangements for working from home, how key functions will operate, risk management, and arrangements for customer authentication to name just a few. A non-exhaustive list of details can be found on the FCA’s website.
There is a chance that many firms will already have these practices in place in some manner. However, now is the opportunity to formalise them so that the firm is completely compliant with the FCA’s regulations.
Get in touch with Neopay today if you wish to ensure that your firm is fully compliant with this new guidance, no matter whether your employees will be working from home full-time or on a hybrid basis.