On April 20, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) updated its webpage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to clarify the requirements for employees to obtain appropriate qualifications (the Webpage).

The FCA understands that a number of professional qualification providers are cancelling exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic with no specific arrangements in place to reschedule them.

The FCA still expects firms to ensure that all employees have the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to discharge their responsibilities. However, the FCA confirms that it has no intention of taking action against a firm or accountable individual that is not able to ensure that an employee has attained an appropriate qualification within the required 48 months because the relevant examinations were cancelled or postponed.

The FCA’s extension applies to a firm’s employees that have a set (registered/booked) examination date(s) which was cancelled or postponed by the examination provider or by the firm. The FCA is providing these employees with an additional 12 months to complete the appropriate qualifications.

The FCA will adopt this approach for six months, until October 31, 2020. This means that firms may apply a time limit of up to 60 months where examinations were cancelled or postponed, up to and including October 31, 2020.

The Webpage is available here.