Records must be maintained despite coronavirus disruption, says FCA

Firms urged to let the FCA know if there are difficulties in recording calls, or capturing regulatory data that is due to be submitted.

UK market participants have been urged to continue capturing records and data as firms move staff to alternative sites or working arrangements, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said.  

In a statement on its response to coronavirus, the FCA slightly eased some reporting burdens for firms, but stressed that it expects participants to maintain appropriate records and to submit the data as soon as possible.

Noting the drastic changes to working arrangements, the FCA said it expects calls to continue being recorded, but accepted this may not always be possible, in which case firms should make the regulator aware of the issue.

“We expect firms to consider what steps they could take to mitigate outstanding risks if they are unable to comply with their obligations to record voice communications. This could include enhanced monitoring, or retrospective review once the situation has been resolved,” the FCA said.

“Firms may experience difficulties in submitting their regulatory data, in which case we expect them to maintain appropriate records during this period and submit the data as soon as possible.”

TRAction, a regulatory reporting services provider, commented on the FCA’s response to the market developments, urging buy-side firms to figure out how reporting processes will be modified.

“This unprecedented time for global markets clearly has a knock-on-effect on regulatory reporting. The trouble is, with no imminent end date to COVID-19, investment firms could find themselves in a prolonged cycle of uncertainty when it comes to submitting trade reporting data,” said Quinn Perrott, co-CEO of TRAction.

“While it is good to see guidance from the FCA, firms can’t just rely on governments and regulators before they act. Investment managers will need to proactively work out how to modify their reporting processes in order to adjust to the current market turmoil.”

The FCA has also decided to extend closure dates for multiple calls for input and consultation papers until 1 October 2020, and will reschedule ‘most other planned work’. The regulator added the move to delay activity will allow firms to focus on supporting customers and clients during this ‘difficult period’.