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FSA Fit & Proper for Approved Persons

Financial Services Authority


In a speech on 9 November 2009 Hector Sants, the FSA Chief Executive, set out his vision for the Financial Services Authority as the economy shows signs of increased stability. This vision for the FSA was not of a return to "light touch" regulation but continuing with its programme of intense supervision.

Central to the FSA's intense supervision approach has been the reform of the authorisation process and the significant influence function regime, and now the Financial Services Authority intends to take this one step further.

The FSA has announced that it will be publishing a Discussion Paper on its new proposals requiring individuals seeking to hold significant influence positions to demonstrate that they have the required business integrity. Hector Sants set out his belief that the FSA's authorisation regime should also seek to determine an individual’s ability to set a strong ethical framework and foster the right culture within the firm. Hector Sants made it clear that the FSA is determined to learn from mistakes from the last two years and part of this involves addressing the culture within firms.

This new approach also came with a warning. The Financial Services Authority will use all its powers to bring about meaningful results, and where firms do not adjust their behaviour they can expect tough action in response.

It is clear that the FSA is going to be placing even greater emphasis on its "fit and proper" test for individuals seeking to be authorised, particularly those holding significant influence functions. When the new proposals are announced in the Discussion Paper it is likely that the FSA will announce that they will vet individuals more carefully, expecting them to not only have the technical knowledge, but also a responsible approach to business.

Therefore it is more important than before that individuals applying to be approved persons ensure that they have a full and open relationship with the regulator and if there is any doubt about this they should seek independent advice.

The press release and full text speech can be found at:

If anyone has any queries relating to the issues in this article or the FSA approved person application regime and fit and proper test, then please contact Sarah Wallace on 020 7421 3883 or sarah.wallace@irwinmitchell.com.