FCA considers externally accredited staff training

Lord Sassoon
Lord Sassoon in the House of Lords

Treasury commercial secretary Lord James Sassoon says the FCA is considering the introduction of externally accredited training courses for its staff.

Speaking in the House of Lords yesterday, Treasury commercial secretary Lord James Sassoon said the training of staff is a matter for the regulator, but that both the PRA and FCA have plans to go further than the FSA.

He was responding to a question tabled by Tory peer Lord Howard Flight asking whether the Government is considering forcing regulatory staff to take qualifying exams.

Sassoon said: “The Government should appoint an appropriate board with experience and then it is rightfully up to the two successor bodies on how to equip their staff properly to do their job.

“The FSA’s approach to testing and competence of its staff is going to be continued by the FCA. The FCA is also exploring whether to have training externally accredited which is something the FSA has not done up to this point. The PRA is developing a comprehensive strategy including a three-year training programme for new graduates. It is being taken extremely seriously.”

Flight blasted the “inconsistency” of the FSA for forcing advisers to take exams under the RDR but not the regulators.

He said: “There are no examinations required to be passed by people working as regulators whereas the regulators, under the RDR reforms, are requiring all financial advisers irrespective of age, cleanness of record and experience to take examinations.”

Labour peers Lord Peston and Baroness Haytor backed Flight’s calls for more regulator exams. Peston said the FCA and PRA are set to be the most powerful regulators in UK history and staff need qualifications. Haytor argued that regulators, along with the industry, need to take ethical exams to abide by a new code of conduct in light of the Libor scandal.

Clayden Associates director Dan Clayden says: “There is going to be a cost involved and it will be passed on to the industry so it should be consulted on. There is no demand for it. The regulator’s job is to set rules and make sure we adhere to them, and I don’t think the staff need an external set of exams to be able to do it.”