The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched proposals to extend the senior managers and certification regime (SM&CR) across all financial services sectors.

First announced in October 2015, the regime will now be applied to almost all regulated firms, replacing the approved persons regime.

The FCA said the new regime aims to increase accountability for conduct and competence, reducing arms to customers and strengthening market integrity.

The regulator said it wanted to encourage staff across the financial services industry to take personal responsibility for actions and ensure that firms and staff understand and can demonstrate where responsibility lies.

According to the proposals, the SM&CR will consist of three parts, these being five conduct rules governing standards and cooperation, the responsibilities of senior managers, and the requirement for employee certification once a year.

The conduct rules state that individuals must act with integrity, due care, sills and diligence, be open and cooperative with regulators, pay due regard to customer interests and treat them fairly, and observe proper standards of market conduct.

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Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision – retail and authorisations at the FCA, said: “The new conduct rules will ensure that individuals in financial services are held to high standards, and that consumers know what is required of the individuals they deal with.

“The regime will also ensure that senior managers are accountable for both their own actions, and for the actions of staff in the business areas that they lead.”