Glen Walker

Today (9th December) marks the extension of the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SMCR) to cover all FCA regulated firms, and Ascent is fully compliant with this crucial change.

SMCR is an important part of the FCA’s efforts to improve “culture” within the financial services industry and has already been in place to a limited extent in the banking and insurance sector since 2016, replacing the Approved Persons Regime in stages.

It was designed and brought in to increase individual accountability and responsibility throughout the sector, aiming to bring senior individuals in financial services to account for any misconduct.

One of the aims of the SMCR is to try to get the industry as a whole to move away from a culture of ‘ticking boxes’ towards actively seeking to do the right thing by customers – already Ascent’s company core vision for a number of years.

The new SMCR Conduct Rules set out behavioural standards that will apply to almost everyone in Ascent, not just senior managers. These are:

You must act with integrity

You must act with due skill, care and diligence.

You must be open and cooperative with the FCA, PRA and other regulators

You must pay due regard to the interests of customers and treat them fairly.

You must observe proper standards of market conduct  

Glen Walker, Ascent’s Chief Compliance Officer said: “Because we were starting from a good place here at Ascent, and were already doing almost all of the things that SMCR makes mandatory, we’ve not had to make any significant changes to the way we work. However, we’ve still been busy over the past few months, ensuring all our colleagues are fully prepared for SMCR.

“E-learning modules have been rolled out to all colleagues to fully explain what is expected of them. All our paperwork and training requirements are completed, our senior managers have been assigned a clearly defined statement of their responsibilities, we have documented our relationship with Irwin Mitchell Group, and taken advice from the Group’s General Counsel team. We’ve also sought external assurance on our approach to ensure it is fully compliant.

“I’m very proud of the hard work the whole team has put in to ensure that Ascent can meet this deadline confidently.”