What is a Responsible Manager?

Nov 03, 2023
A Responsible Manager communicating with her team

By Eloise Somerford, Director & Co-CEO, 3Lines

Governed by ASIC and underscored by legislative frameworks such as the Corporations Act (2001), the Responsible Manager (RM) plays a pivotal role in ensuring transparency, compliance, and ethical operations within the financial sector.

But what does it truly mean to be a Responsible Manager? This article aims to demystify the RM's position and shed light on its various facets — from roles and qualifications to real-world implications and challenges.


Why a Responsible Manager is critical to an organisation

Under the Corporations Act (2001), and as mandated by ASIC, an RM is appointed during the AFSL application process, and is an individual who plays a direct role in ensuring that an AFS licensee complies with its financial services obligations. Their decisions, guidance, and oversight are fundamental to the organisation's conduct and compliance within the financial services industry.

However, it's not just about understanding the legal obligations. The role of an RM entails being on the front foot in navigating the evolving industry landscape, ensuring that their organisation remains not only compliant but also ethically and strategically aligned with market dynamics and customer needs.

The role of an RM, both demanding and rewarding, often becomes the cornerstone of an Australian Financial Services Licence's reputation and operational excellence in the financial services industry.


Roles and Responsibilities

The RM is like the compass guiding the ethical and regulatory operations of financial institutions.

As outlined by the Corporations Act 2001, an RM shoulders the responsibility of ensuring the affiliated licensee adheres to its financial services obligations. This involves making direct and impactful decisions about the ongoing provision of financial services.

Beyond just overseeing, they are the pivotal decision-makers, and their acumen ensures that the organisation stands firm in an ever-evolving financial landscape.

Furthermore, as mandated by ASIC's Regulatory Guide 105, an RM's knowledge and skills must span the entire spectrum of the organisation's financial services and products. They are the guiding lights that ensure every corner of the institution remains illuminated with compliance, ethical standards, and strategic foresight.

Here's an example scenario:

Imagine a bustling financial services business, named FinTrust. They're well-regarded and have been in the industry for over a decade. However, as the market evolved, so did financial regulations and consumer expectations. FinTrust, while striving to meet these changes, faced a scenario where an updated regulatory mandate went unnoticed.

This oversight led to a series of non-compliant advice being recommended to their clients. Enter their RM, Ms Thompson. With her vigilant monitoring and deep understanding of the regulatory landscape, she not only identified the lapse but quickly orchestrated a strategy to understand and escalate the breach, address client concerns and remediation, and re-issue the advice in line with the amended regulations.

Her prompt actions salvaged FinTrust's reputation and fortified its compliance framework. This real-life scenario underscores how an RM acts as the frontline defence against potential regulatory oversights.


Qualifications and Experience

The pathway to becoming an RM isn't just about ambition; it's equally about qualification, experience and appropriate knowledge. ASIC's guidelines are clear about the benchmarks required for an individual to don the RM mantle.

The candidate should be a "fit and proper" person, implying impeccable integrity and a clear track record. Essential background checks, such as a transparent police report and bankruptcy check, form the bedrock of this assessment.

Additionally, having a minimum of two business references reinforces a candidate's suitability, when individually assessed for organisational competence.

Moreover, the individual must meet one of the five options prescribed by ASIC's Regulatory Guide 105 to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. However, it doesn't end at just acquiring the role. ASIC expects RMs to continually maintain and update their knowledge and skills. This ongoing competence should be supported by periodic reviews, especially when there are changes in business activities or when RMs themselves undergo changes.

Proper documentation and records of these reviews and updates are crucial to demonstrating compliance with the organisational competence obligation.


Level up with the 3Lines RM Bootcamp course

Understanding compliance can be clearer with the right resources. The 3Lines RM Bootcamp is designed to demystify compliance for Responsible Managers.

Why Choose 3Lines RM Bootcamp?

  • Clear and Direct: Compliance is made straightforward with bite-sized pieces.

  • Stay Updated: Ensure RMs have up-to-date knowledge.

  • Practical Learning: Experience-based and practical approach to RM training.

  • Relevant Content: Short modules filled with applicable examples.

  • Learn at Your Pace: 12-month access to the course, allowing for flexible learning.


Enrol in 3Lines RM Bootcamp now


Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Being an RM brings responsibilities and potential challenges:

1. Keeping up with Regulatory Changes:

Staying updated can be a challenging task, especially on top of your other responsibilities.

Solution: Regular training sessions. Resources like 3Lines RM Bootcamp offer timely updates.

2. Documentation and Record Keeping:

Maintaining comprehensive records is crucial in remaining compliant.

Solution: Utilise efficient software designed for compliance management. Conduct regular audits to ensure records are maintained.

3. Continuous Learning:

Regulations evolve, requiring RMs to consistently learn.

Solution: Engage in training, workshops, and platforms that offer updated courses, such as 3Lines.


Legal Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Being an RM involves legal responsibilities, too:

1. Non-Compliance:

Not adhering to regulations can lead to penalties.

Solution: Stay updated with regular compliance checks and training. Click the following link for more information about AFSL compliance.

2. Inaccurate Reporting:

Reporting errors can have consequences.

Solution: Use automated reporting tools to reduce errors. Periodic audits can help in data verification.

3. Decision Accountability:

Every decision can have implications.

Solution: Consult with a legal team or expert before making major decisions. This ensures you're well-informed.


Ongoing Obligations and Training for Responsible Managers

In the fast-evolving financial world, laws, regulations, and industry best practices can change. As such, RMs must ensure they are at the forefront of these transformations.

Continuous Training

A crucial element for every RM is ongoing training. Not only does this ensure that they're always in compliance with the Australian Financial Services Licence and relevant legal frameworks, but it also helps in maintaining a proactive approach to managing potential challenges.

Types of Training

While generic training courses can be helpful, it's vital to find training tailored to the specific needs of RMs. Compliance training is critical, ensuring RMs stay updated on legal and regulatory updates.

Additionally, training in communication, management, and decision-making can be beneficial for the overall effectiveness of an RM.


Invest in Tailored Compliance Training Today

Continuous development is vital for every Responsible Manager. Ensure you're equipped with the latest knowledge and skills with the 3Lines RM Bootcamp.

With our clear, direct approach and emphasis on relevance, it's a resource tailored for the modern RM.

Join the 3Lines RM Bootcamp to bolster your knowledge, skills, and confidence in managing your responsibilities.


Stay Updated and Competent in this Demanding Role

The role of an RM is multifaceted, encompassing both legal responsibilities and the practical tasks of overseeing the provision of financial services under an AFS Licence.

For any organisation or individual in the financial sector, understanding the importance of the RM role is crucial. Their decisions, expertise, and ethical stance can shape the course of an institution, impacting its reputation, financial health, and compliance status.

Whether you're an aspiring RM or an organisation looking to strengthen your team, continuous learning is the key. A relevant short industry course like 3Lines RM Bootcamp offers the tools to stay updated and competent in this demanding role.


FAQs about Responsible Managers

Q: What is the primary role of a Responsible Manager?

A: A Responsible Manager oversees the provision of financial services under an AFSL, ensuring that all activities comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Q: Do RMs need to undergo regular training?

A: Yes, continuous training is crucial for RMs to stay updated with changes in regulations, laws, and industry best practices to maintain organisational competence.

Q: Can there be multiple RMs in one organisation?

A: Absolutely. Depending on the size and complexity of an organisation's operations, it may be beneficial to have multiple RMs, each bringing their unique expertise to the table.

Q: How do I know if I'm qualified to be an RM?

A: The qualifications vary, but generally, an RM should be a fit and proper person with a clear background check, have relevant experience, and meet other requirements as outlined in ASIC's Regulatory Guide 105.

Q: Are there resources available for RMs to aid in their roles?

A: Certainly! Many resources, like the 3Lines RM Bootcamp, offer tailored training and information to assist RMs in their duties. You might also find our blog post on Regulatory Technology (RegTech) and AFSL compliance interesting.

Tell me more!

3Lines' RM Bootcamp is a virtual set of 9 lessons, allowing you to self-pace without the worry of missing a beat or interfering with BAU. Our bite-size modules are practical and engaging, meaning you can use the lessons as a tangible guide as and when required.

Whether you're an RM, a licensee, or an adviser, this course is for you. We've designed it to be relevant to a wide audience and to guide your practice in working more efficiently and effectively.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.