In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCA has issued a Direction relating to a modification by consent allowing the extension of the maximum period for which firms can arrange cover for a Senior Manager, without being approved by the FCA, from 12 weeks to 36 weeks, in a consecutive 12-month period.
The modification by consent to rule SUP10.3.13R, which is available to all solo-regulated firms, aims to provide flexibility to firms managing their governance arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic, by recognising that, among other examples, a Senior Manager may be absent due to contracting coronavirus, or recruitment to replace a Senior Manager has been delayed due to the pandemic. The modification also allows firms to allocate an absent Senior Manager’s prescribed responsibilities to the individual covering the role (a modification to SYSC 24.1.2).
If a firm decides to apply for the modification of consent, the modification will become effective from the date of application until April 30, 2021. The FCA has also stated that even if firms do not actually need the modification, they are still able to apply as a precaution.
Further information on how to apply to take advantage of the modification by consent and which firms have applied can be found here.