With reports on sexual harassment against women increasing in the financial industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had no choice but to intervene and update their misconduct rules.
SMEs are expected to undergo changes as the FCA toughens workplace misconduct rules, with a focus on combatting sexual harassment and ensuring a safer working environment for women in finance.
Vivek Dodd, CEO of Skillcast, a corporate compliance training service, has provided his thoughts on the matter, commenting:
“The FCA’s commitment to reinforcing workplace misconduct rules is a notable step toward a safer, more inclusive working environment for women within the finance industry which will benefit both businesses and their employees.
SMEs should proactively review and adapt their internal policies to align with these new regulations as there needs to be an industry-wide shift towards greater accountability and social responsibility to create safer and more pleasant workspaces.”
In light of FCA’s potential rule changes, Skillcast have broken down and simplified the existing reports to help SMEs prepare for the proposed regulations:
- Why Are These Changes Happening?
These rules are a response to recent cases of sexual harassment in the finance industry, highlighting the need for change, underscoring the urgency of creating a safer and more respectful work environment for all. They reflect a commitment to hold offenders accountable and protect the rights and dignity of employees.
- Stricter “Fit and Proper” Test
The FCA intends to introduce “fit and proper” tests that are more rigorous to prevent workplace misconduct in the finance industry.
Changes include stricter scrutiny, addressing non-financial misconduct, and ensuring ongoing compliance. This aims to create a more robust evaluation process with implications for SMEs.
- Cracking Down on Offenders
The FCA aims to take tougher action against individuals and firms that fail to address and penalise misconduct, particularly misconduct related to gender, potentially involving fines, suspensions, or even bans from working in the finance industry.
The exact penalties will be outlined in the new rules and are expected to be more severe than previous measures, sending a clear message that misconduct will not be tolerated.
- Creating a Safe Work Culture
The FCA wants businesses to ensure that their workplaces are safe and respectful, not just to comply with rules but also to cultivate a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and zero tolerance for misconduct, thereby creating healthier and more productive workplaces.
- SME Input
During the consultation period, SMEs have an opportunity to provide feedback and opinions on these new rules, ensuring that any concerns are considered in the decision-making process.