SRA Update

COLP and COFA nomination process begins

SRA Update Issue 25 – June 2012

As we said in the last SRA Update, one of the critical requirements of our move away from the previous focus on prescribed rules to outcomes-focused regulation is for the regulated community to nominate compliance officers for legal practice (COLPs), and compliance officers for finance and administration (COFAs).

COLPs and COFAs are responsible for ensuring that you and your firm have systems and controls in place to enable you to comply with our regulatory requirements. This requirement is consistent with our risk-based approach to regulation.

The nomination process for both COLPs and COFAs is now well under way and many of you have already completed your nomination forms.

A link to the form was emailed out to all firms' authorised signatories at the end of May, and they need to be completed and submitted by Tuesday, 31 July. The form asks for binding declarations by both a senior manager with authority to sign on behalf of the firm and the COLP and COFA nominees.

Additionally, the form asks for confirmation the firm has suitable arrangements in place to ensure that the COLP and COFA are able to discharge their duties. There are also declarations relating to the Suitability Test.

We're making a whole host of information available for those in line for the roles or those nominating them. There's a guide available on our website, while you can also look back at the webinars held on COLPs and COFAs.

We've also been asked a number of specific questions, two of which can be found in Question of ethics – June 2012 and Question of ethics – May 2012.

Further information on COLPs and COFAs can be found at www.sra.org.uk/complianceofficers. We also recommend you read the regulatory provisions:

Firms and sole practitioners who fail to complete the nomination process by 31 July will be in breach of the regulatory provisions detailed above.