On September 24, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) updated their respective statements, originally published in March, regarding key workers and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the FCA and PRA advised firms to follow government advice on remote working until notified otherwise.

In addition, the FCA further updated its statement in respect of work-related travel and the responsibilities of senior managers under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR), explaining that:

  • firms should continue to discuss working arrangements with staff and support their employees in facilitating appropriate working arrangements; and
  • senior managers are expected to take account of changes in the applicability of local and national lockdown restrictions and to review and update employee working arrangements on a continuing basis.

A key financial worker is one who fulfills a role that is necessary for a firm to continue to provide essential daily financial services to consumers or to ensure the continued functioning of markets. Firms should identify a key worker by determining which activities, services or operations, of which, if interrupted, are likely to lead to the disruption of essential services to the real economy or financial stability.

Individuals essential to support functions so identified are that firm’s key financial workers. Firms should also identify any critical outsource partners who are essential to continued provision of services, even where these are not financial services firms.

The FCA also suggests that firms consider issuing a letter to all individuals they identify as key workers. The FCA recommends that the letter includes a notice, expressly stating “the individual has been designated as a key worker in relation to their employment by [firm name]” and is signed by someone with appropriate authority.

The FCA update on remote working is available here.

The PRA update on remote working is available here