Not everyone seems to get Individual Accountability

The topic of accountability is on the agenda of a large number of financial services firms with the impending commencement of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime on 7 March 2016. The regulators are committed to creating a culture of accountability within financial services with the implementation of the regimes and accompanying Conduct Rules - now being collectively referred to as the Individual Accountability Regime.

It seems that individual accountability isn’t recognised by all authorities as the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) deemed that Julian Assange was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty. The statement from the working group said that at Mr Assange requested the Republic of Ecuador grant him refugee status in their London Embassy because of he was fearful of extradition.

We all make decisions and choices that we have to live with and the same goes for Mr Assange. Surely he is accountable for his own ‘arbitrary detention’, after all he requested it and he then chose to stay in the embassy [to avoid extradition].

WGAD’s perspective contrasted the accountability being sought by the FCA as they published Policy Statement 16/3 which extends Individual Accountability Regime; Tracey McDermott commented:

We are determined to embed a culture of personal responsibility within the banking sector. Clear individual accountability should focus minds, drive up standards, and make firms easier to run and to supervise. And if things go wrong, it will allow senior managers to be held to account for misconduct that falls within their area of responsibility.

The policy statement included details of:

  • extension of the regimes to wholesale market activities with client-dealing and algorithmic trading being designated as Significant Harm Functions

  • the interim position of Regulatory References continuing while feedback is considered

  • a 30 day grace period for individuals performing FCA Significant Harm Functions that are making short-term moves (this will not apply to Material Risk Takers)

  • Certification Regime certificates for less than 12 months if deemed appropriate by the Firm

Key dates:

8 February 2016

Grandfathering notifications to be submitted

7 March 2016

Conduct Rule training to be completed for all individuals within the regimes
Commencement of the regimes

7 September 2016

Certification Regime extended to wholesale market activities

7 March 2017

Conduct Rule training to be completed for all other staff
Certificates issued to all individuals in the Certification Regime


Regimes extended to all authorised ‘traditional’ financial services firms and consumer credit firms


Tracey McDermott is Acting Chief Executive at the Financial Conduct Authority

Full details of the FCA Policy Statement 16/3 can be found here.