SRA releases handbook version 9

SRA releases handbook version 9

The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority has released the ninth version of their handbook.

The new version came into effect on 1 April and one of the key changes is to the SRA Financial Services (Scope) Rules.

As the regulation of consumer credit activities has been transferred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), effective from 1 April, firms have to ensure they meet the criteria set out in Part 20 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (sections 327 and 332(4)) (FiSMA).

If firms meet the criteria, they will be exempt from FCA authorisation, however, if they do not, they will either need to apply to the FCA for interim permission or cease to carry on consumer credit activities.

The SRA said the Part 20 regime that relates to financial services will now be relevant to consumer credit activities as well, so firms carrying on consumer credit activities that do not have interim permission from the FCA or fall within the Part 20 exemption, will be in breach of FCA regulations.

The SRA has already produced guidance for firms, with updated guidance due to be released in the coming weeks and will continue to update its advice as and when it receives information from the FCA.

Other changes to the handbook include an amendment to the SRA Higher Rights of Audience Regulations to exempt the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court from their scope, meaning solicitors do not have to hold the Higher Rights qualification to appear in hearings at this court, and a change to implementation dates in the SRA Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime) Regulations 2013.

Version 9 of the Handbook can be found at www.sra.org.uk/handbook

The SRA guidance can be found here: http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/finserscope/resources.page

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