FCA Guidance - Covid-19 – Key financial workers in financial services and work-related travel

3 mins

Posted on 01 Apr 2020

Key financial workers

Following the government advice dated 19 March 2020 on maintaining educational provision, schools have continued to provide care for a limited number of children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (Covid-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home. This includes parents who work in financial services who are needed for the provision of essential financial services (key financial workers).

The FCA only expects a limited number of people to be identified as key financial workers and set this out in its guidance on 20 March 2020. The regulators consider firms are best placed to decide which staff are essential for the provision of essential financial services. 

Firms should first identify the activities, services or operations which, if interrupted, are likely to lead to the disruption of essential services to the real economy or financial stability. The FCA recommends the Chief Executive Officer Senior Management Function (SMF1) is accountable for ensuring an adequate process is put in place. Where firms do not have an SMF1 Chief Executive Officer this should instead be the most relevant member of the senior management team.

Examples of the types of roles that may be considered as providing essential services could be:

  • Individuals essential in the overall management of the firm, for example individuals captured by the Senior Managers Regime
  • Individuals essential in the running of online services and processing
  • Individuals essential in the running of branches and providing essential customer services, such as those dealing with consumer queries (including via call centres), client money and client assets and those maintaining access to cash and other payment services
  • Individuals essential to the functioning of payments processing and of cash distribution services
  • Individuals essential in facilitating corporate and retail lending and administrating the repayment of debt
  • Individuals essential in the processing of claims and renewal of insurance
  • Individuals essential in the operation of trading venues and other critical elements of market infrastructure
  • Risk management, compliance, audit and other functions necessary to ensure the firm meets its customers’ needs and its obligations under the regulatory system
  • Any individual that provides essential support to allow the functioning of the above roles, such as finance and IT staff

A copy of the full guidance can be accessed here

Work-related travel

The FCA subsequently published a statement on 29 March 2020 to make clear to firms how they should prioritise who needs to travel to the office and the responsibilities of Senior Managers in doing so. 

Frontline staff at banks, building societies and credit unions and staff working alongside the Post Office to keep access to cash, call centres and other essential services for customers are highlighted within the statement for their ongoing efforts in the current circumstances. 
The FCA has now expressly stated that it would not expect the following to go into work or meet face to face:

  • Financial advisers, as they can offer their services online or by phone
  • Staff who can safely and securely trade shares and financial instruments from home
  • Business support staff, such as those in IT where they can triage issues from home, unless they are looking after specific equipment or technology
  • Claims management companies and those selling non-essential goods and credit

Each firm should have a designated Senior Manager or equivalent person who is responsible for identifying which of their employees are unable to perform their jobs from home, and have to travel to the office or business continuity site. The guidance can be found in full here together with other FCA Covid-19 guidance.

Doyle Clayton’s regulatory expertise means we are well placed to support our clients in this area. Please contact Charlie Herbert or your usual Doyle Clayton contact to discuss how we can help you.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

Back to top