The Solicitors Regulation Authority have revealed their plans for nominating and appointing compliance officers for legal practices (COLPs) and compliance officers for financial administration (COFAs).
Earlier this week, the Solicitors Regulation Authority executive director, Samantha Barrass, announced that from the end of May 2012 firms will be able to nominate COLPs and COFAs – something which they will have to have done by July 31st.
As part of the provisions of the Legal Services Act and as part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s move to outcomes-focused regulation, all firms – including sole practitioner firms – must nominate both a COLP and a COFA; whilst a senior manager from each firm is also required to confirm that the firm has suitable arrangements in place to ensure those nominated are able to discharge their duties.
Samantha Barrass, said of the introduction of COLPs and COFAs: “Whilst the vast majority of firms place a great deal of importance on professional ethics and delivery of profession services, others may not have adequately assessed their risks, and how those risks affect their achievement of the regulatory outcomes.
“What this tells us is that a proactive, efficient regulatory regime is one where the primary responsibility for managing compliance risk lies with the firms, with particular responsibilities for the most senior people in firms.”
The Solicitors Regulation Authority have stressed that whilst the nominated COLPs and COFAs will be the formal focal points for compliance, they will not be seen as ‘sacrificial lambs’.