Financial services firms, including peer-to-peer lenders, are being reminded of their regulatory responsibilities as more staff work from home.
The pandemic has accelerated a shift towards flexible and remote working but the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released a series of expectations for regulated firms to meet wherever they are based.
The FCA said firms must inform it of any material changes in the way they operate and compliance and record keeping must continue even when staff are working remotely.
Businesses need to be able to prove that the lack of a centralised location or remote working does not or is unlikely to affect their ability to conduct regulated activities and prevent the FCA and consumers from contacting them.
Flexible working also must not cause detriment to consumers, reduce competition or increase the risk of financial crime, the FCA said.
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“Firms should consider if their details on the Financial Services Register need updating,” the FCA said.
“For example, if your firm intends to use a private residential address as its principal place of business, it should consider the effect on any individuals and got necessary approvals. This includes those living at the property who aren’t employees.
“We should be able to access firms’ sites, records and employees. It’s important that firms are prepared and take responsibility to ensure employees understand that the FCA has powers to visit any location where work is performed, business is carried out and employees are based for any regulatory purposes. This includes supervisory and enforcement visits.”
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