Notifying the COLP and COFA to the SRA
Firms regulated and authorised by the SRA are required to have a compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) and compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA). The deadline for nominating the COLP and the COFA to the SRA was originally 31 March. The SRA has confirmed that the deadline will be postponed, but the new deadline is not yet known. Despite this delay, we understand that it is still the SRA’s intention to make approval decisions on all nominations by the original date of 31 October.
Richard Collins, SRA Executive, commented this week that “it is essential that COLPs and COFAs have sufficient ability and authority to fulfil these important roles, including having access to management systems and all other relevant information, such as client files and business information… The online nomination process for Compliance Officers will allow us to consider the relevant information to verify that the nominated individual can properly discharge the responsibilities of the role as defined under Rule 8.5 of the Authorisation Rules. As well as completing the Suitability Test, applicants will need to satisfy the rules and role requirements, including demonstrating that they are 'of sufficient seniority and in a position of sufficient responsibility to fulfil the role'. This will include consideration of governance arrangements.”
The SRA has indicated that the nomination forms will go live within the next 6 weeks. The information that it expects to request in the nomination form includes:
1. The following details about the firm:
- Firm Name and registered/Head Office address
- A copy of the firm’s organisation structure and its governance structure showing the position of the compliance officers
- Information about the numbers of legally qualified personnel, fee earners and the types of legal services offered by the firm
- Detail of the Compliance Officer role within the firm (this may be supported by a job description/role profile document) eg whether they are part-time or full-time employee, other employers they have if this is applicable, whether the role is a full-time or part-time role within the firm or if they carry out other roles within the firm
2. The following details about the candidate:
- Candidate's name
- Address history for five years
- Work history for five years
- Professional details and professional interests eg other business links or separate businesses
- Role within the firm
- Suitability Test
For more information on COLPs and COFAs, please contact Richard Turnor, Corinne Staves or Fiona Poole.
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