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Comply or die...
C-Day is 31 March 2012, the deadline for nominating your COLP and COFA to the SRA. In the first of our monthly COLP Reports, Allison Wooddisse, Head of Practice Compliance, explains what this means for your firm.
Do I have to?
Appointing a COLP and COFA isn’t optional; it’s compulsory under the SRA Authorisaton Rules.
Your COFA must ensure you comply with the new Accounts Rules. Your COLP cops for everything else: the rest of the new, 500-page SRA Handbook; the terms under which your firm is authorised and a raft of legislation covering bribery, money laundering and data protection, to name just a few.
What’s the process?
The SRA hasn’t explained how the nomination process will work, perhaps because of the delays with MySRA and PC renewals. We do broadly know that:
• your COLP must be a lawyer
• your COFA doesn’t have to be a lawyer or accountant
• one person can do both roles
• you can’t appoint an external consultant
We also know that COLPs and COFAs have to satisfy the SRA’s Suitability Test.
This is along the lines of a rogue-detector - a simple list of factors that could prevent your COLP or COFA from being approved.
We don’t know whether the COLP and COFA are expected to demonstrate any particular expertise or show that they’ve implemented the necessary compliance systems.
What if I don’t comply?
From October 2012, it will be a condition of your firm’s authorisation that you have a COLP and COFA properly approved by the SRA. If you don’t comply, expect the SRA to suspend or withdraw your firm’s authorisation. C-Day, the nomination deadline, is the first step.
My COLP is feeling nervous, what should I do?
Watch out for next month’s COLP Report for a discussion of pros and cons of a COLP/COFA indemnity.
Join us for a webex session on Practice Compliance: COLP/COFA crash course, on:
24 Jan at 12.30pm
31 Jan at 1pm
Contact Allison Wooddisse for login details: Allison.firstname.lastname@example.org
0330 161 1234