FSTP – Results from industry HR survey

HR Survey – HR Hot Topics

FSTP recently conducted a survey of HR managers in the Financial Services industry, with the vast majority of responses coming from the solo-regulated sector. The survey’s theme was ‘HR Hot Topics’ and it generated some interesting responses.

By far the largest number of responses was received from HR departments that look after 101-500 employees. HR functions looking after 500+, 51-100 and 21-50 employees came 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the respondents’ ranking.  70% of the respondents confirmed that their HR departments are fully staffed at the moment.

Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR)

Unsurprisingly, the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) was the first ‘HR Hot Topic’ to be covered by the survey. The results showed that HR and Compliance functions are taking the lead on SMCR implementation projects, with each one scoring 35% of responses. In third place with 27% of responses was ‘Other or multiple departments’, with Company Secretariat making up the remainder. Interestingly, Senior Managers scored 0% in this section of the survey.

In relation to ‘Other or multiple departments’ the majority of responses confirmed that Compliance and HR teams are working in conjunction. Others confirmed that project teams also include representatives from front and back-office operations. 77% of firms have sourced SM&CR project managers internally, rather than recruiting externally.

Once SMCR is implemented nearly 70% of firms will be using a combination of HR and Compliance functions to manage the embedding process and ensure that systems and controls requirements are being fulfilled. 12% of firms have not yet decided who will take responsibility for this, whilst 16% of firms will be allocating responsibility solely to HR, with the remainder passing this particular baton to Compliance.

We then asked firms to tell us which aspect of SMCR is giving them the most cause for concern. In order of priority, starting with the highest scoring area first, the results were:


Production and reporting of appropriate Management Information


Keeping evidence of compliance with requirements


Management of Certificated Persons


Ongoing checks for Fitness & Propriety of individuals


Practical application of Conduct Rules & notification of breaches


Ongoing training


Senior Management responsibilities


Initial training


Increased due diligence and checks at recruitment


Regulatory references

When asked the question, “What is the biggest challenge facing your HR department in the next 12 months?’”, by far the majority of responses related to SMCR. Some of these were from firms already in the Regime who are concerned about the ability to sustain related systems and controls.  In the main, the comments came from those in the solo-regulated sector for whom implementation of and transition into the Regime is all too imminent.

If your firm needs help and support with preparing for SMCR’s implementation, or even if you just want an independent ‘health-check’ of the preparations you’ve already made, FSTP offers a wealth of practical experience gained through our support for firms caught in the first two waves of Regime’s implementation. We use this knowledge to help simplify the transition for your firm and to provide reassurance that your preparations are on the right track.


With FSTP’s entry into the Apprenticeship arena as an approved training provider, we were keen to explore firms’ awareness of and approach to the subject.

92% of the responses were from firms that are an apprenticeship levy payer. Of these only 9% are using all of their levy, while 31% are using some of their allowance. The remainder are not using any of their available allowance. Respondents in this latter category were asked to provide some feedback about why they have not engaged with Apprenticeships. Responses include:

“Not clear if we can use it for what we require”

“Not enough time to investigate”

“We have not had the time / resource to fully look into utilising the levy”

If you would like to know more about Apprenticeships, FSTP has the knowledge and expertise available to help you explore the subject and the options that are open to you.

Richard Galley

Director of Learning