2020 was a tumultuous year for most, not least our Regulators. Firms were challenged by operating remotely, in many cases with less staff and with more and more edicts being issued by the regulator in supposed “support” for firms. I say supposed because when I reviewed how many communications the FCA had put out from Mar 20 – Jan 21 on the topic of Vulnerability, I was really surprised that they had communicated on 57 different occasions with website messages and produced 63 documents providing guidance and rules.
I raise this not to undermine the work of the regulator in trying to ensure that “Consumers are treated fairly”, it is key particularly given the extreme financial positions some people have been thrust into by the pandemic. Rather, the point I am trying to make is the challenges this creates for firms. In my experience, Compliance teams are stretched to the limits advising firms on the operational implications these regulatory matters and updates bring to a firm.
To complicate things further, in some organisations the role of the 2nd line, i.e. compliance, is blurring as firms look to Compliance Teams to own certain regulatory accountabilities, notably SM&CR, in the absence of other parts of the business either wanting/or able to support it.
So, what do I think this means for 2021? I think as the regulator drives on with their Purpose, Governance, Leadership & Culture agenda, firms will be continue to be challenged on how they balance this growing regulatory agenda and keep their firms compliant. Learn more about Conduct and Culture change here.
Increasingly, as Compliance teams start thinking ‘outside the box’ to manage this growing workload, they will turn to RegTech solutions to help them. Compliance teams will use ‘best in class’ solutions to manage specific parts of their regulatory responsibilities, e.g. SM&CR, complaints, employee competence, sales quality etc. and look to the solution providers to ensure these solutions not only keep them compliant but also provide business benefit. At Worksmart, we’ve been aware of this challenge for some time and work hard to ensure our solutions not only meet the letter, but also the spirit, of the regulation and do so whilst helping firms improve; be it saving cost, improving oversight or customer service.
‘So how are you going to do that?’ I hear you say! The answer, I’m afraid, is quite boring.
In Worksmart we focus on 3 things:
- Regulation – We invest considerable time to stay on top of what our regulators are saying, not only guidance, but also researching the background to their thinking, e.g. their research papers. Combined, this provides us with a richer, more layered, picture of the regulators’ intentions.
- Customers – We invest an equal amount of time talking to customers. Not only in formal sessions e.g. user groups, but also in our day to day dealings with them. By doing that, we get a more rounded view of what they like and, importantly, what they would like our solutions to do more of.
- Our People – We make a conscious effort to share our learning about the regulator and what our customers are thinking across the entire Worksmart team.
In turn, this feeds into our product teams (to create more informed product roadmaps), our implementation teams (to guide customers through product configuration as part of the onboarding process) and our support teams (to suggest best practice ways of getting the most out of our solutions).
So, in summary, my prediction for 2021 is that Compliance teams will continue to get busier and I see it as our job to help them so they stay compliant and provide business benefit.
If you would like to know more about how Worksmart’s RegTech solutions suite could help transform your response to people based regulation, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team on: 01908 613613 or email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org