On 27 May 2020, the FCA issued a statement on its website providing guidance on when individuals may carry over continuing professional development (CPD). During the current situation the FCA will temporarily allow firms to let individuals in exceptional circumstances to carry over any uncompleted CPD hours to the next CPD year, i.e. the next 12 month period in which to complete the relevant CPD. This applies to CPD years ending before 1 April 2021.

Firms can allow this when an individual, due to the current exceptional circumstances, will not be able to complete their CPD hours in their current CPD period. The individual must complete the carried-over CPD hours within the next CPD period. The carried over hours will be treated as part of the required CPD hours of that next CPD year on top of the hours already required.

Where a firm, in accordance to the guidance, has made the decision to carry over uncompleted CPD hours to the next CPD period, the FCA will treat the firm as having complied with the requirements for the current CPD period.

The FCA guidance clarifies the circumstances that will count as ‘exceptional’ and also what firms will need to take into account. In terms of exceptional circumstances the FCA notes that this is when individuals during the current pandemic:

  • are needed to carry out extra duties to manage risks, and/or to provide support, to consumers and businesses during the current situation;
  • have caring responsibilities, such as having to care for a partner, child, parent, grandparent or sibling; and
  • have difficulties accessing CPD material, for example, due to technical difficulties or unavailable material.

The FCA also notes where it is not realistic to expect an individual to fulfil the CPD requirements. The FCA reminds firms that there are rules in place for long-term illness implications, as described in TC 2.1.17.