01 September 2015 - Post by:Sarah Hitchins
Need to look up a provision in the FCA or PRA Handbook? If so, the websites hosting these resources may look a bit different. Over the bank holiday weekend the FCA and the PRA launched new websites to house their respective Handbooks.
Set out below are a few pointers to help you navigate these new websites, as well as our thoughts on some of their new features.
#1: Getting started – where you can find the new FCA Handbook and PRA Rulebook websites
The FCA Handbook and PRA Rulebook are now hosted on two separate websites. You can find:
Overall, the new FCA Handbook and PRA Rulebook websites appear to be much more user-friendly than the website they have replaced. A number of the issues that made the previous website challenging to navigate have been addressed, such as those set out below.
#2: New search function – helpful, but not to be relied upon
A helpful new addition to both the FCA and PRA websites is a search function, which allows users to search for key words or phrases across the FCA Handbook or the PRA Rulebook.
This new function is likely to save users a considerable amount of time – relatively simple searches can help to quickly identify some of the regulators’ rules that are sometimes tricky to locate at short notice.
However, it would be unwise for users to rely on the new FCA and PRA search functions to bring up all rules and guidance relating to a particular word, phrase or topic. Having tested the search function ourselves, the search results we received for certain key words were not necessarily complete and also brought up a number of irrelevant hits. Hopefully this is a function that the FCA and the PRA will refine over time.
#3: Enhanced timeline function– a welcome new feature
The ‘old’ website allowed users to view the FCA and PRA Handbooks as at a particular point in time in the past. This was a particularly helpful function for those who wanted to identify what rules and guidance applied and when. Thankfully this function has been retained for the new FCA and PRA websites. It can be accessed by clicking on a section of the FCA Handbook or PRA Rulebook and:
- FCA Handbook: Ticking the box next to the words ‘Show timeline’ on the left-hand side of the screen and entering the date at which you want to view the FCA Handbook.
- PRA Rulebook: Entering the date at which you want to view the PRA Rulebook into the box at the top of the screen labelled ‘View Rulebook as at’.
In addition, if you use the timeline function on the FCA Handbook website, an interactive timeline will also be displayed. This interactive timeline will show when previous changes to the selected provisions were made, as well as the dates of any proposed future changes to these provisions. The PRA’s website does not have an equivalent feature, but does flag where a rule is due to be amended and when.
#4: Keeping up-to-date with rule changes – a useful new tool but one that may make the FCA even less sympathetic towards firms
If there are particular FCA rules that you are interested in tracking, you can set-up alerts that will notify you if changes are proposed or made to these rules. In order to set up these alerts, you will need to set up an account on the new FCA Handbook website (by clicking ‘Join Up’ in the toolbar at the top of the homepage).
If you do not want to create an account on the FCA Handbook website, you can monitor rule changes by regularly clicking ‘What’s new’ at the top of the homepage. Doing so will let you view the most recent changes to the FCA Handbook. The same applies for the new PRA Rulebook website.
A number of previous FCA enforcement cases have found that firms failed to keep up-to-date with the FCA rules that applied to them. This new functionality connected with the FCA Handbook will help firms in this area. However, it will perhaps also make the FCA (in both supervisory and enforcement contexts) even less sympathetic to firms that later claim that they did not realise that the FCA’s rules in a particular area had changed.
The relevant forms that firms are required to submit to the regulators used to be hidden in annexes to various sections of their Handbooks. However, the new FCA and PRA websites make it much easier to locate these forms:
- FCA Handbook: To find forms that relate to the section of the FCA Handbook you are viewing, click the ‘Related Forms’ tab at the top of the page. You can also search across all forms produced by the FCA by clicking ‘Forms’ at the top of the homepage.
- PRA Rulebook: All forms produced by the PRA can be viewed by clicking ‘Forms’ at the top of the homepage.