The PRA and FCA have published a joint policy statement: “Strengthening accountability in … insurance: Implementation of … SIMR; and PRA requirements on regulatory references“. The policy statement includes “Regulatory reference rules – volume 2”. Volume 3 will follow later in the year. (Don’t worry; they’re mercifully short.)
From 7 March 2016, Volume 2 will sit neatly alongside Volume 1 (the regulatory reference rules in today’s SUP10B) as part of a new Rulebook. Then, “when considering the appointment of an in-scope individual, PRA-regulated firms will be required to:
- Provide a reference to another regulated firm ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ upon request containing ‘all relevant information’ of which it is aware. This requirement already … applies in respect of Approved Persons. [Volume 2] will ensure that it continues to apply to certain functions that will cease to be subject to regulatory pre-approval from 7 March 2016, such as notified NEDs, as well as encompassing all KFHs at insurers…; [and]
- Take reasonable steps to obtain appropriate references covering at least the past 5 years of service from that person’s current and previous employers, and from organisations at which that person served as, or is currently, a NED…“
Firms will still owe a duty of care to their former employees and to the firm that’s asked for the reference. So, “The reference should be accurate and based on documented fact. The firm may give frank and honest views, but only after taking reasonable care both as to factual content, and as to the opinions expressed, and verifying the information upon which they are based“. The obligations to give a regulatory reference will also still apply, notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.
Volume 3 might include a standard regulatory reference template; and/or rules that require referees to issue updates, if new information comes to light after a reference has been given.