We have agreed a roadmap with our customers to future-proof our Standards as changes to the FCA Firm Reference Number loom.

The FCA Firm Reference Number plays a vital role in identifying parties in the financial services distribution chain, and will soon be extended from its current 6-digit form to cater for 7-digit numbers.

We have been working with our customers over recent months to assess the impact of this change and ensure that our data integration standards remain fit for purpose. Key decisions were ratified at the recent Process & Standards Group meeting, the group comprising advisers, software suppliers, and product and platform providers, that gives detailed direction to our standards work.

This change is similar to the Y2K bug, where years of assumptions about key data no longer held true. Our customers are already mobilising projects to implement support for the longer numbers, and we are pleased to be working with them to ensure their day-to-day operations are unaffected.

We develop and manage data integration Standards that support more than half a billion transactions annually across the financial services industry. As well as longer FCA Firm Reference Numbers, we will also be extending support in our Standards for reference numbers issued in offshore jurisdictions, and helping to resolve industry anomalies over the use of ‘test’ numbers.