FSA launches new reporting requirements

This is the first stage in implementing its decision to introduce mandatory electronic reporting for all firms except credit unions. The FSA is today sending a Factsheet to firms explaining how the new arrangements will work.

Graeme Ashley-Fenn, FSA Director, Contact, Revenue and Information Management, said: "The new system will replace the current mainly paper-based returns. It is an important development in the FSA's aim to improve its business capability and effectiveness. This is part of our work to significantly enhance our data collection systems and we believe this new system will be less onerous for firms to use. The new Integrated Regulatory Return is based on the type of business firms undertake and reporting periods will be aligned to firms’ financial years. This will enable them to use information they already generate for their own business purposes, for regulatory purposes as well.

These new reporting arrangements are essential for the cost effective monitoring of the many thousands of firms in retail financial markets particularly those who have come under our scope since we started to regulate mortgage and general insurance business."

The system will:

- enable firms to see when and what they need to report to the FSA;

- provide firms with an easy to use mechanism to submit data to the FSA on line;

- minimise ad hoc data requests from the FSA to firms;

- ensure the data the FSA collects is more closely aligned to its statutory objectives; and

- eliminate redundant data requirements.

The FSA is committed to making this process as easy as possible for firms and, in addition to the new Factsheet, will introduce a number of initiatives to achieve this:

- easily accessible and up-to-date illustrations of the following returns will be available on the FSA Website:

- Retail Mediation Activities Return (RMAR);

- Mortgage Lending and Administration Return (MLAR); and

- Complaints Return (newly revised);

- seminars will be available from April for firms wishing to learn more about the RMAR – details will shortly be available on the FSA Website site at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/doing/events/workshops/ .

- the new technology the FSA has built will be piloted in April;

- the FSA Firm Contact Centre will provide help and support, if required, on using the new system when it goes live;

- further regular communications will be issued to update firms on their reporting requirements in the run up to 1 July 2005 in addition to the FSA's updated dedicated Integrated Regulatory Reporting (IRR) webpage available on the FSA Website at ( http://www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/Doing/Regulated/Returns/IRR/ ). This also includes further information on the wider IRR programme.

Although the new system for submitting the RMAR and MLAR will be available from 1 July 2005, firms need to start collecting information from 1 April 2005 which is the date the new returns come into force. These returns have to be submitted by the newly regulated mortgage and general insurance firms, and personal investment firms (mainly IFAs) – which we refer to as Phase 1 firms. The Integrated Regulatory Reporting webpage includes a Decision Tree [ http://www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/Doing/Regulated/Returns/IRR/tree ] which further helps firms to identify whether they are a Phase 1 firm.

Also on 1 July 2005 mandatory electronic reporting of the revised Complaints Return (which now includes data on mortgage and general insurance business) will be introduced for all firms required to submit a complaints return (except credit unions, and those that are exempt because they do not have eligible complainants or have a valid waiver).