The FCA has published a new webpage which sets out its expectations for firms working in a remote or hybrid environment so firms can continue to meet their regulatory responsibilities. Firms should be able to prove that remote working does not or is unlikely to:
- affect the firm’s location in the UK, or its ability to meet and continue to meet the threshold conditions for the regulated activities it has or will have permission for – or any equivalent requirements, where these do not apply;
- prevent the FCA receiving information about a firm;
- reduce the accuracy of the FS Register for others if, for example, consumers are not able to contact the firm at the principal place of business shown on the FS Register;
- affect the ability of the firm to oversee its functions including any outsourced functions;
- cause detriment to consumers;
- damage the integrity of the market;
- increase the risk of financial crime; and
- reduce competition.
Firms must also prove that they have a satisfactory plan in place to ensure that, for example: appropriate governance and oversight by senior managers is maintained; control functions such as risk, compliance and internal audit can carry out their functions unaffected; and that an appropriate culture can be maintained in a remote working environment etc.
The webpage also reminds firms that any material changes to how a firm intends to operate may require notification to the FCA first.