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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued further information for firms on COVID-19. The FCA makes it clear that it is closely monitoring the situation and is ready to take any steps necessary to make sure that customers are protected, and markets continue to function well. Dedicated teams have been set up within the FCA and the regulator is working closely with the Government, the Bank of England, the Payment Systems Regulator and firms.
The FCA encourages firms to review their arrangements for addressing this challenging and constantly changing situation while managing the risks to their employees and customers and the impact on the market through their Business Continuity Plans. Firms are expected to be clear and transparent and provide strong support and service to customers. Firms are also expected to manage their financial resilience and their liquidity and to report to the FCA immediately if they believe that they will be in difficulty.
The FCA expects all firms to have well-tested contingency plans to deal with major events and it is actively reviewing the contingency plans of a number of firms. This includes a review of firms’ assessments of operational risks, firms’ ability to continue to operate effectively and firms’ steps to serve and support their customers. The FCA says that “firms should take all reasonable steps to meet the regulatory obligations which are in place to protect consumers and maintain market integrity.”
Where firms are required by the FCA to record telephone calls, those that are moving to alternative sites or working from home arrangements should continue to record calls, but the FCA accepts that this may not always be possible. Firms should make the FCA aware if they are unable to meet these requirements and consider enhanced monitoring or retrospective review once the issue has been resolved.
Where firms experience difficulties in submitting regulatory data, they should keep appropriate records during this period and submit the data as soon as possible. If firms have concerns, they should contact the FCA.
Firms should continue to take all steps to prevent market abuse, including enhanced monitoring and retrospective reviews. The FCA will continue to monitor for market abuse and, where appropriate, take action.
For firms to concentrate on supporting their customers during this challenging period, the FCA is delaying some regulatory activity where appropriate and is extending the closing date for responses to open consultation papers and Calls for Input until October 1, 2020.
You can read the full FCA statement here.