Note: this question and answer is under review in light of the Insurance Distribution Directive and will be updated in future.
The firm's insurance mediation officer is the member of staff named on the Exempt Professional Firms (EPF) register held by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Registration of solicitors' firms on this register is handled by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, who will make known the insurance mediation officer's details to the FCA.
The requirement for a firm to be on the EPF Register and to appoint an insurance mediation officer is set out in rule 5(6) of the SRA Financial Services (Scope) Rules 2011 (Scope Rules).
5.6 Insurance mediation activities
(a) Unless a firm is registered in the Financial Services Register it must not carry on any insurance mediation activities;
(b) Any firm undertaking insurance mediation activities must appoint an insurance mediation officer whose details will be made known to the FCA and who will be responsible for the firm's insurance mediation activities.
'Insurance mediation officer' is defined in the Glossary to the SRA Handbook as 'the individual within the management structure of the firm who is responsible for an insurance mediation activity'.
Although insurance mediation officers can be employees, they need to be individuals with sufficient seniority within a firm to ensure that they have the authority to carry out the role properly. This includes having access to management and other relevant information such as client files and business information.
The existence of the insurance mediation officer does not remove ultimate responsibility for regulatory obligations from the principals in a firm.
Whoever is appointed to the role, the ultimate responsibility for the firm's compliance with the Scope Rules and the SRA Financial Services (Conduct of Business Rules) 2001 rests with the principals, who among other things should bear in mind the need to achieve Outcome O(7.3) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011: 'you identify, monitor and manage risks to compliance with all the Principles, rules and outcomes and other requirements of the Handbook, if applicable to you, and take steps to address issues identified.'
For further advice, please contact the Professional Ethics team at the SRA by calling them on 0370 606 2577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.
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