On 28 January, the FCA published a webpage where it set out its expectations regarding the competence and capability of MLROs and heads of compliance at authorised and registered firms. The FCA’s webpage contains a number of points that firms can use to determine whether or not an individual is suitable to perform the MLRO or head of compliance role.

The first area is training, and the FCA expects that ‘successful applicants’ would have already completed relevant training before applying, as well as having attended training courses that are relevant, up to date and of a sufficient length and depth to provide sufficient coverage.

In terms of experience, the FCA acknowledges that this can come in many different forms, but notes that individuals applying for a ‘head of’ role need not have performed such a role in the past, and can still come from a more junior position; but that for the MLRO or head of compliance role, purely ‘front line’ experience may not be sufficient.

With respect to relying on third party support, the FCA makes the point that “Applicant firms have tended not to be successful where the external support services proposed is the firm’s only compliance resource”, indicating that even where a firm intends on using external support, the applicant in question should still have sufficient experience to make decisions for the business and know when to seek external assistance when required.

Finally, the FCA comments on the capacity required to perform the role of MLRO or head of compliance, indicating that the commitment to the role must be proportionate and sufficient.

To view the webpage, please click here.