SM&CR blog series #1: Navigating the regulatory landscape

Navigating the regulatory landscape

The financial services regulators the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Bank of England (BoE) have all made significant additions and changes to rules this year already. Here is a roundup of what has been happening and what Unicorn has been doing to support its customers…

On 3 January 2018 the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) came into force. It aims to produce a safer, more transparent and responsible financial system which facilitates competition and restores investor confidence after the financial crisis in 2008. In response, Unicorn created content focusing on the key changes required by firms to implement into their policies, procedures, systems and controls.

This was swiftly followed by the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II) on 13 January 2018. PSD II, also known as ‘Open Banking’, was an EU Directive aimed at increasing competition, bringing into scope new types of payment services and enhancing customer protection. The directive introduced a number of new requirements around how firms must treat their customers, handle complaints and the data they report to the FCA.

Here at Unicorn we updated our already comprehensive content on the Payment Services Regulations for Banks and Building Societies plus our courses on Treating Customers Fairly and Complaints Handling.

Next came one of the biggest changes in regulation and legislation in modern history, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ratified in 2016 and as a current EU member state, the UK had until the 25 May 2018 to comply with the requirements. The new regulation and legislation was designed so that individuals could take better control of their personal data.

Unicorn created two courses - one for general awareness and one to assist those responsible for making the changes required internally within firms to comply. Post 25 May, we rolled out a final course for all levels of staff which also took in to account the changes that came with the Data Protection Act 2018.

In October the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) came in to force. The directive's aim is to enhance consumer protection when buying insurance as well as supporting competition between insurance distributors by creating a level playing field.

Through Unicorn’s partnership with CII, a pathway of core content was created, supported by a suite of tools such as an assessment facility, reporting system and integrated CPD recording.

The FCA believes that holding individuals to account is a key component of effective regulation, this is shown through the Senior Manager and Certification Regime (SMCR) which currently applies to deposit takers.

Following the BoE and Financial Services Act 2016, this is now being extended to insurers on 10 December 2018 with solo-regulated firms coming in on 9 December 2019.

Unicorn's suite of SMCR courses will cover off the training requirements for all staff under the new regimes. From our Introduction to the New Regulatory Framework, Training for SMRs and Certificated Individuals through to case studies on Conduct Rules split out by sector, function and job role - we have it covered. We haven’t just got content, we have developed a SMR and CR tool to help firms with the easy planning, building and maintaining of Responsibility Maps and Individual Statements of Responsibilities with full auditing capability. These tools, along with our fully featured T&C forms and workflow system, CPD tracking and reporting provide a comprehensive end-to-end solution for our Unicorn LMS users.

Look out for the next edition of my blog which will focus on five top tips for firms that are new to the SM and CR regimes.


Richard Whittington

Richard Whittington

Head of Digital Products

Richard is a highly accomplished Learning and Development professional, with over 15 years of experience…

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