On 30 January 2019 the Banking Standards Board (BSB) launched a consultation on its proposed good practice guidance on regulatory references, a core element of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime.
The consultation will run for seven weeks until 20 March 2019. The BSB would welcome views from all interested parties, and in particular from firms that are required to provide and obtain regulatory references (particularly those operating in the banking sector), and individuals subject to the Certification Regime or those representing them.
The guidance has been developed in partnership with member firms through the BSB’s cross-industry Certification Regime Working Group (CRWG). It reflects a pooling of industry knowledge and experience and is intended to help firms implement the regulatory requirements effectively.
The guidance outlines three high-level principles which consider both the ‘providing’ and ‘receiving’ ends of the process, and state that regulatory reference practices and policies should be:
• fair to the individuals about whom they are written without compromising the integrity of the reference, and in the way that they are used by firms when recruiting individuals;
• proportionate in relation to other firms and individuals when fulfilling regulatory reference requirements, in particular by taking reasonable steps to identify and verify relevant information, and when considering issues raised by regulatory references and updates; and
• consistent in the way that individuals are treated by firms providing and receiving references; with other processes and policies within a firm; and, as far as possible, between firms in the quality and quantity of information included. This should not preclude, especially in the early period of regulatory references implementation, learning from honest mistakes and changing course to address them.
BSB good practice guidance allows member firms and others in the sector to reference their own policies and procedures against a statement of what ‘good’ looks like. It does not impose any legal or regulatory obligations on BSB members, nor does it replace regulation. In the event of inconsistency, applicable laws, rules and regulations prevail.