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Nominate your COLP and COFA by 31 July 2012

The SRA has announced that firms will be able to nominate their compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) and compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA) from 31 May 2012.

The closing date for nominations will be 31 July 2012.

The news release dated 19 April 2012 provides that online nomination forms will require declarations from the individuals nominated as COLP and COFA, as well as a ‘senior’ manager of the firm that has authority to bind the firm. Each of these individuals will be held to account personally.

The form will include:

  • confirmation that the firm has suitable arrangements in place to ensure that the COLP and COFA are able to discharge their duties, and
  • confirmation that the COLP and COFA declarations, including that the nominee has sufficient seniority and responsibility in the firm, are correct. 

In a speech given on 19 April at a COLP and COFAs conference, Samantha Barrass from the SRA indicated that the form will also “require the nominees to declare:

  • that they understand their obligations and have sufficient responsibility in the firm and are in a position of sufficient seniority to perform the role;
  • they are satisfied that the firm's managers have put in place suitable arrangements to ensure that they are able to discharge the COLP/COFA duties in accordance with the rules;
  • that they will take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance; and
  • that they consent to being designated as the COLP/COFA.”

Thus firms must ensure that they and their prospective compliance officers are in a position to make these declarations by that date. In particular, arrangements must have been made to assure the managers and compliance officers of the firm that the latter will, once appointed, have the necessary authority to investigate any relevant issues, to make any relevant reports and to put in place binding policies, practices and procedures that are appropriate to ensure compliance. Note that firms and managers are already required to be able to demonstrate that they have put in place reasonable arrangements to ensure compliance, even if those arrangements are subject to further consideration and review.

For more information on COLPs and COFAs, please contact Richard Turnor or Corinne Staves.

Read the full SRA news release here: 
- http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/press/colps-cofas-timescales-responsibilities.page

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