The Certification Regime

The Certification Regime covers specific functions that aren’t Senior Management Functions, but can have a significant impact on customers and/or the firm. These roles are called Certification Functions. Read what your firm needs to do.

Certification staff don't need to be approved by the FCA. Instead, firms need to check and certify that they are fit and proper to perform their role on appointment and at least once a year.

Firms need to make sure that they:

  • understand which of the Certification Functions apply to the firm (very small firms may not have any Certification Functions)
  • identify the individuals that need to be certified and assess whether they are fit and proper, both on appointment and on an ongoing basis (which must include an assessment at least annually)
  • have the appropriate processes to obtain and provide regulatory references (see SYSC 22). Firms are required to provide a regulatory reference to another firm if requested; the rules state the reference must be provided as soon as is reasonably practicable. The FCA expects that regulatory references should be provided within 6 weeks at most – however this is a limit and not a target and, in most cases, it would be reasonably practicable to provide a reference far sooner.

PR b (Performance by the firm of its obligations under the Certification Regime) is one of the prescribed responsibilities that must be allocated to an SMF.

Identification of certification staff

Firms need to identify which of their staff are subject to the Certification Regime. The Certification Functions are:


Definition in FCA Handbook

(1) CASS oversight

SYSC 27.8.1R

(2) Proprietary trader

SYSC 27.8.3R

(3) Significant management

SYSC 27.8.4R

(4) Functions requiring qualifications

SYSC 27.8.10R

(5) Managers of certification employees

SYSC 27.8.13R

(6) Material risk takers

SYSC 27.8.14R

(7) Client-dealing

SYSC 27.8.18R

(8) Algorithmic trading

SYSC 27.8.23R

Dual-regulated firms should also consider relevant sections of the PRA Rulebook in identifying PRA certification staff.