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Status: You are viewing the version of the handbook as on 2005-06-30.

SYSC 3.2 Areas covered by systems and controls

Introduction

SYSC 3.2.1GRP

This section covers some of the main issues which a firm is expected to consider in establishing and maintaining the systems and controls appropriate to its business, as required by SYSC 3.1.1 R.

Organisation

SYSC 3.2.2GRP

A firm's reporting lines should be clear and appropriate having regard to the nature, scale and complexity of its business. These reporting lines, together with clear management responsibilities, should be communicated as appropriate within the firm.

SYSC 3.2.3GRP
  1. (1)

    A firm's governing body is likely to delegate many functions and tasks for the purpose of carrying out its business. When functions or tasks are delegated, either to employees or to appointed representatives, appropriate safeguards should be put in place.

  2. (2)

    When there is delegation, a firm should assess whether the recipient is suitable to carry out the delegated function or task, taking into account the degree of responsibility involved.

  3. (3)

    The extent and limits of any delegation should be made clear to those concerned.

  4. (4)

    There should be arrangements to supervise delegation, and to monitor the discharge of delegates functions or tasks.

  5. (5)

    If cause for concern arises through supervision and monitoring or otherwise, there should be appropriate follow-up action at an appropriate level of seniority within the firm.

SYSC 3.2.4GRP
  1. (1)

    The guidance relevant to delegation within the firm is also relevant to external delegation ('outsourcing'). A firm cannot contract out its regulatory obligations. So, for example, under Principle 3 a firm should take reasonable care to supervise the discharge of outsourced functions by its contractor.

  2. (2)

    A firm should take steps to obtain sufficient information from its contractor to enable it to assess the impact of outsourcing on its systems and controls.

SYSC 3.2.5GRP

Where it is made possible and appropriate by the nature, scale and complexity of its business, a firm should segregate the duties of individuals and departments in such a way as to reduce opportunities for financial crime or contravention of requirements and standards under the regulatory system. For example, the duties of front-office and back-office staff should be segregated so as to prevent a single individual initiating, processing and controlling transactions.

Compliance

SYSC 3.2.6RRP

A firm must take reasonable care to establish and maintain effective systems and controls for compliance with applicable requirements and standards under the regulatory system and for countering the risk that the firm might be used to further financial crime.

SYSC 3.2.7GRP
  1. (1)

    Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of its business, it may be appropriate for a firm to have a separate compliance function. The organisation and responsibilities of a compliance function should be documented. A compliance function should be staffed by an appropriate number of competent staff who are sufficiently independent to perform their duties objectively. It should be adequately resourced and should have unrestricted access to the firm's relevant records as well as ultimate recourse to its governing body.

  2. (2)

    The regulatory objectives are defined in section 2 of the Act and include the reduction of financial crime. This objective is more fully described in section 6 of the Act. This describes financial crime as including any offence involving (a) fraud or dishonesty, (b) misconduct in, or misuse of information relating to, a financial market, or (c) handling the proceeds of crime.

  3. (3)

    In applying SYSC 3.2.6 R, where financial crime is concerned, firms must also comply with other Handbook requirements (in particular, ML) and their legal obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.3

SYSC 3.2.8RRP
  1. (1)

    A firm which carries on designated investment business with or for customers must allocate to a director or senior manager the function of:

    1. (a)

      having responsibility for oversight of the firm's compliance; and

    2. (b)

      reporting to the governing body in respect of that responsibility.1

  2. (2)

    In SYSC 3.2.8 R (1)10 (1) "compliance" means compliance with the rules in:

    1. (a)

      COB COBS (Conduct of Business);

    2. (b)

      COLL (New Collective Investment Schemes) and CIS (Collective Investment Schemes) sourcebook); and

    3. (c)

      CASS (Client Assets)42

SYSC 3.2.9GRP
  1. (1)

    SUP 10.7.8 R uses SYSC 3.2.8 R to describe the controlled function, known as the compliance oversight function, of acting in the capacity of a director or senior manager to whom this function is allocated.

  2. (2)

    The rules referred to in SYSC 3.2.8 R (2) are the minimum area of focus for the firm's compliance oversight function. A firm is free to give additional responsibilities to a person performing this function if it wishes.

Risk assessment

SYSC 3.2.10GRP
  1. (1)

    Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of its business, it may be appropriate for a firm to have a separate risk assessment function responsible for assessing the risks that the firm faces and advising the governing body and senior managers on them.

  2. (2)

    The organisation and responsibilities of a risk assessment function should be documented. The function should be adequately resourced and staffed by an appropriate number of competent staff who are sufficiently independent to perform their duties objectively.

  3. (3)

    The term 'risk assessment function' refers to the generally understood concept of risk assessment within a firm, that is, the function of setting and controlling risk exposure. The risk assessment function is not a controlled function itself, but is part of the systems and controls function (CF28).

Management information

SYSC 3.2.11G
  1. (1)

    A firm's arrangements should be such as to furnish its governing body with the information it needs to play its part in identifying, measuring, managing and controlling risks of regulatory concern. Three factors will be the relevance, reliability and timeliness of that information.

  2. (2)

    Risks of regulatory concern are those risks which relate to the fair treatment of the firm's customers, to the protection of consumers, to confidence in the financial system, and to the use of that system in connection with financial crime.

SYSC 3.2.12GRP

It is the responsibility of the firm to decide what information is required, when, and for whom, so that it can organise and control its activities and can comply with its regulatory obligations. The detail and extent of information required will depend on the nature, scale and complexity of the business.

Employees and agents

SYSC 3.2.13GRP

A firm's systems and controls should enable it to satisfy itself of the suitability of anyone who acts for it.

SYSC 3.2.14GRP
  1. (1)

    SYSC 3.2.13 G includes assessing an individual's honesty, and competence. This assessment should normally be made at the point of recruitment. An individual's honesty need not normally be revisited unless something happens to make a fresh look appropriate.

  2. (2)

    Any assessment of an individual's suitability should take into account the level of responsibility that the individual will assume within the firm. The nature of this assessment will generally differ depending upon whether it takes place at the start of the individual's recruitment, at the end of the probationary period (if there is one) or subsequently.

  3. (3)

    The FSA's detailed requirements on firms with respect to the competence of individuals are in the Training and Competence sourcebook (TC).[deleted]

  4. (4)

    The requirements on firms with respect to approved persons are in Part V of the Act (Performance of regulated activities) and SUP 10.

Audit committee

SYSC 3.2.15GRP

Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of its business, it may be appropriate for a firm to form an audit committee. An audit committee could typically examine management's process for ensuring the appropriateness and effectiveness of systems and controls, examine the arrangements made by management to ensure compliance with requirements and standards under the regulatory system, oversee the functioning of the internal audit function (if applicable - see SYSC 3.2.16 G) and provide an interface between management and the external auditors. It should have an appropriate number of non-executive directors and it should have formal terms of reference.

Internal audit

SYSC 3.2.16GRP

Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of its business, it may be appropriate for a firm to delegate much of the task of monitoring the appropriateness and effectiveness of its systems and controls to an internal audit function. An internal audit function should have clear responsibilities and reporting lines to an audit committee or appropriate senior manager, be adequately resourced and staffed by competent individuals, be independent of the day-to-day activities of the firm and have appropriate access to a firm's records.

  1. (1)

    Depending on the nature, scale and complexity of its business, it may be appropriate for a firm to delegate much of the task of monitoring the appropriateness and effectiveness of its systems and controls to an internal audit function. An internal audit function should have clear responsibilities and reporting lines to an audit committee or appropriate senior manager, be adequately resourced and staffed by competent individuals, be independent of the day-to-day activities of the firm and have appropriate access to a firm's records.

  2. (2)

    The term 'internal audit function' refers to the generally understood concept of internal audit within a firm, that is, the function of assessing adherence to and the effectiveness of internal systems and controls, procedures and policies. The internal audit function is not a controlled function itself, but is part of the systems and controls function (CF28).

Business strategy

SYSC 3.2.17GRP

A firm should plan its business appropriately so that it is able to identify, measure, manage and control risks of regulatory concern (see SYSC 3.2.11 G (2)). In some firms, depending on the nature, scale and complexity of their business, it may be appropriate to have business plans or strategy plans documented and updated on a regular basis to take account of changes in the business environment.

Remuneration policies

SYSC 3.2.18GRP

It is possible that firms' remuneration policies will from time to time lead to tensions between the ability of the firm to meet the requirements and standards under the regulatory system and the personal advantage of those who act for it. Where tensions exist, these should be appropriately managed.

Business continuity

SYSC 3.2.19GRP

A firm should have in place appropriate arrangements, having regard to the nature, scale and complexity of its business, to ensure that it can continue to function and meet its regulatory obligations in the event of an unforeseen interruption. These arrangements should be regularly updated and tested to ensure their effectiveness.

Records

SYSC 3.2.20RRP
  1. (1)

    A firm must take reasonable care to make and retain adequate records of matters and dealings (including accounting records) which are the subject of requirements and standards under the regulatory system.

  2. (2)

    Subject to (3) and to any other record-keeping rule in the Handbook, the records required by (1) or by such other rule must be capable of being reproduced in the English language on paper.

  3. (3)

    If a firm's records relate to business carried on from an establishment in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, an official language of that country or territory may be used instead of the English language as required by (2).

SYSC 3.2.21GRP

A firm should have appropriate systems and controls in place to fulfil the firm's regulatory and statutory obligations with respect to adequacy, access, periods of retention and security of records. The general principle is that records should be retained for as long as is relevant for the purposes for which they are made.

SYSC 3.2.22GRP

Detailed record-keeping requirements for different types of firm are to be found elsewhere in the Handbook. Schedule 1 to the Handbook is a consolidated schedule of these requirements.