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Put the kettle on for the FCA

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 11 Oct 2021

New expectations laid out by the Financial Conduct Authority could lead to financial services employees being visited at their ‘residential address’ by the regulator’s staff.

Many of us have become used to working remotely, with our children or pets joining us for the occasional video call. But is that relaxed attitude appropriate for the formal and high-pressured world of banking and financial services?

On 11 October, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its expectations for hybrid and remote working. It said that banks, insurers and other financial services firms will need to think carefully about how they have adapted to the new ways of working. 

In particular, firms will need to assess whether home working could in any way cause detriment to customers, risk financial crime or damage market integrity. The regulator added that this could even mean bank employees being visited at their ‘residential address’ from FCA staff.

At home, bank staff are no longer sitting next to their boss. They are not in private offices, away from prying eyes and may be using their own, less cyber-secure home technology products. This means the FCA is naturally concerned about the risks of misconduct. 

The October announcement makes clear that the FCA’s stance on hybrid working is ‘location neutral’. That means financial services firms’ governance and oversight and controls functions (risk, compliance and internal audit) need to continue to operate as effectively as they did before, albeit at a distance. There will be no ‘pass’ for hybrid working and the FCA’s stance remains firm – all their rules and regulations continue to apply as before. 

ICAEW and its Financial Services Faculty has looked at the risks around hybrid working and in detail and has published a list of pre-emptive actions firms can take to avoid operational risks crystalising and financial losses occurring as a consequence of hybrid working. ICAEW’s research is available from the link below.

ICAEW: The impact of hybrid working on control environments and firm culture

FCA announcement: remote hybrid working expectations

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