Related provisions for ICOBS 5.3.1

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COBS 10.2.1RRP
(1) When providing a service to which this chapter applies, a firm must ask the client to provide information regarding his knowledge and experience in the investment field relevant to the specific type of product or service offered or demanded so as to enable the firm to assess whether the service or product envisaged is appropriate for the client.(2) When assessing appropriateness, a firm must determine whether the client has the necessary experience and knowledge in order to
COBS 10.2.2RRP
The information regarding a client's knowledge and experience in the investment field includes, to the extent appropriate to the nature of the client, the nature and extent of the service to be provided and the type of product or transaction envisaged, including their complexity and the risks involved, information on:(1) the types of service, transaction and designated investment with which the client is familiar;(2) the nature, volume, frequency of the client's transactions in
COBS 10.2.3RRP
A firm must not encourage a client not to provide information required for the purposes of its assessment of appropriateness.2
COBS 10.2.4RRP
A firm is entitled to rely on the information provided by a client unless it is aware that the information is manifestly out of date, inaccurate or incomplete.2
COBS 10.2.5GRP
When assessing appropriateness, a firm may use information it already has in its possession.
COBS 10.2.6GRP
Depending on the circumstances, a firm may be satisfied that the client's knowledge alone is sufficient for him to understand the risks involved in a product or service. Where reasonable, a firm may infer knowledge from experience.
COBS 10.2.7GRP
If, before assessing appropriateness, a firm seeks to increase the client's level of understanding of a service or product by providing information to him, relevant considerations are likely to include the nature and complexity of the information and the client's existing level of understanding.
COBS 10.2.8GRP
If a firm is satisfied that the client has the necessary experience and knowledge in order to understand the risks involved in relation to the product or service, there is no duty to communicate this to the client. If the firm does so, it must not do so in a way that amounts to making a personal recommendation unless it complies with the rules in COBS 9 (Suitability (including basic advice) (non-MiFID provisions))2.
1(1) 1In taking reasonable care to ensure the suitability of advice on a payment protection contract or a pure protection contract a firm should:(a) 1establish the customer's demands and needs by2 using information readily available2 to the firm and by obtaining further relevant information from the customer, including details of existing insurance cover; it need not consider alternatives to policies2 nor customer needs that are not relevant to the type of policy2 in which the
1In taking reasonable care to ensure the suitability of advice on a policy included in a packaged bank account, a firm must:(1) establish the customer's demands and needs by using information readily available to the firm and by obtaining further relevant information from the customer, including details of existing insurance cover; it need not consider alternatives to policies nor customer needs that are not relevant to the type of policy in which the customer is interested;(2)
1A firm must make a record of the suitability assessment, the recommendation given and the reasons for the recommendation and, if the customer proceeds with the recommendation, retain it for a minimum period of three years from the date on which the recommendation was made.
COBS 10.3.1RRP
(1) If a firm considers, on the basis of the information received to enable it to assess appropriateness, that the product or service is not appropriate to the client, the firm must warn the client.(2) This warning may be provided in a standardised format.1
COBS 10.3.2RRP
(1) If the client elects not to provide the information to enable the firm to assess appropriateness, or if he provides insufficient information regarding his knowledge and experience, the firm must warn the client that such a decision will not allow the firm to determine whether the service or product envisaged is appropriate for him.(2) This warning may be provided in a standardised format.1
COBS 10.3.3GRP
If a client asks a firm to go ahead with a transaction, despite being given a warning by the firm, it is for the firm to consider whether to do so having regard to the circumstances.
COBS 10.4.1RRP
(1) A firm is not required to ask its client to provide information or assess appropriateness if:(a) the service only consists of execution and/or the reception and transmission of client orders, with or without ancillary services, it relates to particular financial instruments and is provided at the initiative of the client;(b) the client has been clearly informed (whether the warning is given in a standardised format or not) that in the provision of this service the firm is
COBS 10.4.2RRP
If a client engages in a course of dealings involving a specific type of product or service through the services of a firm, the firm is not required to make a new assessment on the occasion of each separate transaction. A firm complies with the rules in this chapter provided that it makes the necessary appropriateness assessment before beginning that service.1
COBS 10.4.3GRP
2As explained in COBS 4.12A.33G, COBS 10.4 is not relevant for the purpose of complying with the rules requiring an appropriateness assessment under COBS 4.12A in relation to restricted mass market investments.
COBS 10.4.3RRP
COBS 10.6.1GRP
A firm need not assess appropriateness if it is receiving or transmitting an order in relation to which it has assessed suitability under COBS 9 (Suitability (including basic advice)).
COBS 10.6.2GRP
LR 6.3.1RRP
1The historical financial information required under LR 6.2.1R and LR 6.2.3R must:(1) demonstrate that the applicant has a revenue earning track record; and(2) put prospective investors in a position to make an informed assessment of the business for which admission is sought.
LR 6.3.2GRP
(1) 1The purpose of LR 6.2.1R(2), LR 6.2.3R, and LR 6.3.1R is to ensure that the applicant has representative financial information throughout the period required by LR 6.2.1R(1) and LR 6.2.3R and to assist prospective investors to make a reasonable assessment of what the future prospects of the applicant’s business might be. Investors are then able to consider the applicant’s historical financial information in light of its particular competitive advantages, the outlook for the
COBS 10.7.1GRP
A1firm is required to keep orderly records of its business and internal organisation, including all services and transactions undertaken by it.1 The records may be expected to include the client information a firm obtains to assess appropriateness and should be adequate to indicate what the assessment was. 11
COBS 10.7.2RRP
The firm must retain its records relating to appropriateness for a minimum of five years.
COBS 10.5.1GRP
A service should be considered to be provided at the initiative of a client (see COBS 10.4.1 R (1)(a)1) unless the client demands it in response to a personalised communication from or on behalf of the firm to that particular client which contains an invitation or is intended to influence the client in respect of a specific financial instrument or specific transaction.2
COBS 10.5.2GRP
A service can be considered to be provided at the initiative of a client notwithstanding that the client demands it on the basis of any communication containing a promotion or offer of investments2 made by any means that by its very nature is general and addressed to the public or a larger group or category of clients.2
SUP 12.6.1RRP
If at any time a firm has reasonable grounds to believe that the conditions in SUP 12.4.2 R, 2SUP 12.4.6 R or SUP 12.4.8A R2 (as applicable) are not satisfied, or are likely not to be satisfied, in relation to any of its appointed representatives, the firm must:2(1) take immediate steps to rectify the matter; or(2) terminate its contract with the appointed representative.
SUP 12.6.3GRP
Consideration should be given, among other things, to the impact on the appointed representative's financial position of any debts owed to, or by, the appointed representative. Indicators that an appointed representative is experiencing financial problems may include failure to adhere to repayment schedules for any debts, failure to meet any other financial commitments or requests for advances of commission.
SUP 12.6.4GRP
A firm should look into any concerns that may arise at any time about an appointed representative's financial standing and take the necessary action. The necessary action may include, for example, increased monitoring or, if appropriate, suspension or termination of the appointment.
A firm must:(1) take reasonable steps to verify the customer's identity, income and outgoings; [Note: paragraph 3.26a of DMG](2) seek explanations if a customer indicates expenditure which is particularly high or low; and [Note: paragraph 3.26b of DMG](3) where applicable, notify a customer that a particular lender will not deal with the firm (for whatever reason), as soon as possible after the firm becomes aware that the customer owes a debt to that lender. [Note: paragraph 3.26l
What are reasonable steps for verification of the identity, income and outgoings1 of a customer depends on the circumstances of the case and the type of service offered by the firm. Estimates of expenditure would be reasonable where precise figures are not readily available. The Common Financial Statement includes expenditure guidelines, but where a firm uses the Common Financial Statement or an equivalent or similar statement which includes such guidelines, the use of expenditure
The obligation to provide a suitability report does not apply:(1) if the firm, acting as an investment manager for a retail client, makes a personal recommendation relating to a regulated collective investment scheme;(2) if the client is habitually resident outside the United Kingdom10 and the client is not present in the United Kingdom at the time of acknowledging consent to the proposal form to which the personal recommendation relates;(3) [deleted]8(4) if the personal recommendation
A firm must provide the suitability report to the client:(1) in the case of a life policy, before the contract is concluded8; (2) in the case of a personal pension scheme or stakeholder pension scheme that is not a life policy8, where the rules on cancellation (COBS 15) require notification of the right to cancel, no later than the fourteenth day after the contract is concluded;11(2A) in the case of a pension transfer or pension conversion, in good time before the transaction
15Firms carrying on, or seeking to carry on, a PRA-regulated activity, should note that the PRA is also responsible for assessing suitability under its own threshold conditions. Paragraphs 4E and 5E of Schedule 6 to the Act set out the suitability threshold conditions which are relevant to the discharge by the PRA of its functions under the Act in relation to firms carrying on, or seeking to carry on, a PRA-regulated activity. For the avoidance of doubt, this guidance does not
(1) [deleted]1515(2) Examples of the kind of general considerations to which the FCA may have regard when assessing whether a firm will satisfy, and continue to satisfy, the threshold conditions set out in paragraphs 2E and 3D of Schedule 6 to the Act include, but are not limited to, whether the firm:1515(a) conducts, or will conduct, its business with integrity and in compliance with proper standards;(b) has, or will have, a competent and prudent management; and(c) can demonstrate
COBS 10.1.3RRP
For the purposes of CONC 3.8.2R (3) the unsuitability of an agreement does not apply to the question of whether a customer should enter into a regulated credit agreement at all. [Note: paragraph 5.5 (box) of ILG]
A firm must:(1) where it has responsibility for doing so, explain the key features of a regulated credit agreement to enable the customer to make an informed choice as required by CONC 4.2.5 R;[Note: paragraphs 4.27 to 4.30 of CBG and 2.2 of ILG](2) take reasonable steps to satisfy itself that a product it wishes to recommend to a customer is not unsuitable for the customer's needs and circumstances;[Note: paragraph 4.22 of CBG](3) advise a customer to read, and allow the customer
REC 2.1.4GRP

Location of recognition requirements and guidance

Recognition Requirements Regulations


Section in REC 2/other parts of the Handbook5

Regulation 6

Method of satisfying recognition requirements


Part I of the Schedule

UK RIE recognition requirements

Paragraph 1

Financial resources


Paragraph 2



5Paragraphs 2A and 2B

Management Body


Paragraphs 3, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, 3G and 3H5

Systems and controls, market making agreements, halting trading, direct electronic access, co-location services, fee structures, algorithmic trading, tick size regimes, synchronisation of business clocks5


Paragraphs 4(1), 4(2)(aa) and 4C5


General safeguards for investors and publication of data regarding execution of transactions5


Paragraph 4(2)(a)

Access to facilities





Paragraph 4(2)(c)

Availability of relevant information


Paragraph 4(2)(d)



Paragraph 4(2)(e)

Transaction recording


2Paragraph 4(2)(ea)



Paragraph 4(2)(f) and 4(2)(fa)5

Financial crime and market abuse


Paragraph 4(2)(g)



Paragraph 4(3)

Definition of relevant information










Paragraph 6

Promotion and maintenance of standards


Paragraph 7

Rules and consultation


Paragraphs 7A and 9ZB (regulated markets only)5


Admission of financial instruments to trading


Paragraphs 7B, 7C and 9ZC (regulated markets only)5


Access to facilities


5Paragraphs 7BA & 7BB

Position management and position reporting re commodity derivatives


2Paragraph 7D

Settlement and clearing facilitation services5


Paragraphs 7E and 7F5


Suspension and removal of financial instruments from trading


Paragraph 8



Paragraph 9



Paragraphs 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D, 9E, 9F, 9G, 9H and 9ZD5


Operation of a multilateral trading facility or an organised trading facility5

2.16A/MAR 5 and MAR 5A

5Paragraph 9ZA (regulated markets only)

Order execution


5Paragraph 9K

Provision of data reporting services

2.16B/ MAR 9

Part II of the Schedule

UK RIE default rules in respect of market contracts


CONC 3.3.10GRP
Examples of practices that are likely to contravene the clear, fair and not misleading rule in CONC 3.3.1 R include:(1) stating or implying that a firm is a lender (where this is not the case);[Note: paragraph 3.7e (box) of CBG](2) misleading a customer as to the availability of a particular credit product; [Note: paragraph 3.9p of CBG(3) concealing or misrepresenting the identity or name of the firm; [Note: paragraph 3.7g (box) of CBG(4) using false testimonials, endorsements
CONC 15.1.10GRP
In accordance with PRIN 9 (customer: relationships of trust):(1) a firm must take reasonable steps to ensure the suitability of its advice, which would include acting in the best interests of a customer where the firm makes a recommendation; (2) if it appears to the firm that entering into a regulated credit agreement secured on land is not in the best interests of the customer, that fact should be made clear to the customer; and (3) the firm should encourage the customer to consider
PERG 9.11.1GRP

Table There are some frequently asked questions about the application of the definition of an open-ended investment company in the following table. This table belongs to PERG 9.2.4 G (Introduction).




Can a body corporate be both open-ended and closed-ended at the same time?

In the FCA's view, the answer to this question is 'no'. The fact that the investment condition is applied to BC (rather than to particular shares in, or securities of, BC) means that a body corporate is either an open-ended investment company as defined in section 236 of the Act or it is not. Where BC is an open-ended investment company, all of its securities would be treated as units of a collective investment scheme for the purpose of the Act. A body corporate formed in another jurisdiction may, however, be regarded as open-ended under the laws of that jurisdiction but not come within the definition of an open-ended investment company in section 236 (and vice versa).


Can an open-ended investment company become closed-ended (or a closed-ended body become open-ended)?

In the FCA's view, the answer to this question is 'yes'. A body corporate may change from open-ended to closed-ended (and vice versa) if, taking an overall view, circumstances change so that a hypothetical reasonable investor would consider that the investment condition is no longer met (or vice versa). This might happen where, for example, an open-ended investment company stops its policy of redeeming shares or securities at regular intervals (so removing the expectation that a reasonable investor would be able to realise his investment within a period appearing to him to be reasonable). See also PERG 9.7.5 G.


Does the liquidation of a body corporate affect the assessment of whether or not the body is an open-ended investment company?

The FCA considers that the possibility that a body corporate that would otherwise be regarded as closed-ended may be wound up has no effect at all on the nature of the body corporate before the winding up. The fact that, on a winding up, the shares or securities of any investor in the body corporate may be converted into cash or money on the winding up (and so 'realised') would not, in the FCA's view, affect the outcome of applying the expectation test to the body corporate when looked at as a whole. The answer to Question 4 explains that investment in a closed-ended fixed term company shortly before its winding up does not, in the FCA view, change the closed-ended nature of the company. For companies with no fixed term, the theoretical possibility of a winding up at some uncertain future point is not, in the FCA's view, a matter that would generally carry weight with a reasonable investor in assessing whether he could expect to be able to realise his investment within a reasonable period.


Does a fixed term closed-ended investment company become an open-ended investment company simply because the fixed term will expire?

In the FCA's view, the answer to this is 'no'. The termination of the body corporate is an event that has always been contemplated (and it will appear in the company's constitution). Even as the date of the expiry of the fixed term approaches, there is nothing about the body corporate itself that changes so as to cause a fundamental reassessment of its nature as something other than closed-ended. Addressing this very point in parliamentary debate, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury stated that the "aim and effect [of the definition] is to cover companies that look, to a reasonable investor, like open-ended investment companies". The Minister added that "A reasonable investor's overall expectations of potential investment in a company when its status with respect to the definition is being judged will determine whether it meets the definition. The matter is therefore, definitional rather than one of proximity to liquidation". (Hansard HC, 5 June 2000 col 124).


In what circumstances will a body corporate that issues a mixture of redeemable and non-redeemable shares or securities be an open-ended investment company?

In the FCA's view, the existence of non-redeemable shares or securities will not, of itself, rule out the possibility of a body corporate falling within the definition of an open-ended investment company. All the relevant circumstances will need to be considered (see PERG 9.6.4 G, PERG and PERG 9.8.9 G). So the following points need to be taken into account.

  • The precise terms of the issue of all the shares or securities will be relevant to the question whether the investment condition is met, as will any arrangements that may exist to allow the investor to realise his investment by other means.
  • The proportions of the different share classes will be relevant to the impression the reasonable investor forms of the body corporate. A body corporate that issues only a minimal amount of redeemable shares or securities will not, in theFCA's view, be an open-ended investment company. A body corporate that issues a minimal amount of non-redeemable shares or securities will be likely to be an open-ended investment company. A body corporate that falls within the definition of an open-ended investment company is likely to have (and to be marketed as having) mainly redeemable shares or securities. However, whether or not the body corporate does fall within the definition in any particular case will be subject to any contrary indications there may be in its constitutional documents or otherwise.
  • Where shares or securities are only redeemable after the end of a stated period, this factor will make it more likely that the body corporate is open-ended than if the shares or securities are never redeemable.


Does "realised on a basis calculated wholly or mainly by reference to..." in section 236(3)(b) apply to an investor buying investment trust company shares traded on a recognised investment exchange because of usual market practice that the shares trade at a discount to asset value?

In the FCA's view, the answer is 'no' (for the reasons set out in PERG 9.9.4 G to PERG 9.9.6 G).


Does the practice of UK investment trust companies buying back shares result in them becoming open-ended investment companies?

In the FCA's view, it does not, because its actions will comply with company law: see section 236(4) of the Act and PERG 9.6.5 G.


Would a body corporate holding out redemption or repurchase of its shares or securities every six months be an open-ended investment company?

In the FCA's view a period of six months would generally be too long to be a reasonable period for a liquid securities fund. A shorter period affording more scope for an investor to take advantage of any profits caused by fluctuations in the market would be more likely to be a reasonable period for the purpose of the realisation of the investment (in the context of the 'expectation' test, see PERG 9.8 and, in particular, PERG 9.8.9 G which sets out the kind of factors that may need to be considered in applying the test).


Would an initial period during which it is not possible to realise investment in a body corporate mean that the body corporate could not satisfy the investment condition?

In the FCA's view, the answer to that question is 'no'. In applying the investment condition, the body corporate must be considered as a whole (see PERG 9.6.3 G). At the time that the shares or securities in a body corporate are issued, a reasonable investor may expect that he will be able to realise his investment within a reasonable period notwithstanding that there will first be a short-term delay before he can do so. Whether or not the 'expectation test' is satisfied will depend on all the circumstances (see PERG 9.8.9 G).

APER 4.7.14GRP
Where independent reviews of systems and procedures have been undertaken and result in recommendations for improvement, the approved person performing an accountable higher management function5 should ensure that, unless there are good reasons not to, any reasonable recommendations are implemented in a timely manner (APER 4.7.8G95). What is reasonable will depend on the nature of the inadequacy and the cost of the improvement. It will be reasonable for the approved person performing