We have prepared a Reader's Guide to help firms generally to navigate the Handbook. You can access it via the CD-ROM (by clicking on 'Handbook') and on our website at - www.fsahandbook.info/FSA/pdf/rguide.pdf.
As explained more fully in the Reader's Guide, the provisions in the Handbook do not all have the same status. The difference between Rules and Guidance is important. The Rules in the Handbook (marked with an 'R') create binding obligations on firms. If a firm breaches such a rule, it may be subject to enforcement action and in some circumstances to an action for damages.
Guidance in the Handbook (marked with a 'G') is general Guidance given to more than one firm or individual. Guidance is not binding on a firm. As long as a firm follows Guidance that indicates possible means of compliance with a rule or recommends a course of action or arrangement, we intend to proceed on the basis that the firm has complied with the relevant Handbook rule. A firm may find that Guidance is a helpful indication of how compliance with a Rule may be achieved without devising its own approach to that Rule.