Published: 11th September 2015

Once a quarter, the FCA consults on proposed miscellaneous Handbook amendments.

This quarter’s proposals (condensed from 251 pages to 1) are to:

  • make changes in relation to offshore life insurance bonds – Once a bond has been purchased, the life company may appoint a UK firm, to manage the assets, effectively held for the policyholder. The policyholder, via advice or through discretion, is in effect, making investment decisions as an agent of the life company. It is the life company, rather than the policyholder, who is the client at this second stage. This means there is a gap in that the policyholder does not have the protection of the suitability rules or the right to turn to the ombudsman service if poor advice is provided or unsuitable discretionary decisions to trade are taken. New rules will require the UK investment manager to apply the suitability rules in COBS 9 as if the policyholder (rather than the life company) were its client when it is instructed to engage directly with the policyholder (as agent of the life company). This means that the investment manager will be required to consider the knowledge, experience, financial situation and investment objectives of the policyholder in providing any personal recommendations or taking any decisions to trade.
  • make minor changes to implement the Mortgage Credit Directive – catching up in terms of rule amendments.
  • make minor changes to the TC list of appropriate qualifications – of interest for those taking a BSc (Hons) in Financial Planning, Investment and Risk at the University of South Wales.
  • update FSA guidance on Consumer Redress Schemes – and incorporate it into CONRED including changing the rules for triggering redress schemes and clarification of the Ombudsman’s role.
  • make minor amendments to improve the data collection process for both firms and the FCA – in the SUP rulebook, mainly to consumer credit reporting, changes to improve guidance notes.
  • make changes to the complaints rules to make reporting requirements consistent and clear – although there have been recent changes to DISP concerning the resolution of complaints further amendments are proposed. Changes were to commence on 30 June 2016 but will now come into force on 1 January 2016. As the original commencement date of 30 June 2016 would apply to reporting periods which started on 1 January 2016 there is little practical impact. Proposals will remove the need to keep the complainant informed where complaints are resolved by close of the third business day. A summary of the resolution must be sent ‘promptly’.
  • make changes to the Glossary, LR, DTR, PR, GENPRU and SUP – in light of the Statutory Audit Amending Directive (SAAD) and to make some miscellaneous amendments to the Handbook sections.
  • make technical amendments to provisions in GEN – to take into account the PRA replacing its rulebook with a Handbook.
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