The role that technology can play in helping advisers ensure compliance
Lisa Martin is development director at TMA Club
The UK mortgage market has often lagged behind other sectors in the adoption of new technology.
However, the onset of a global crisis has encouraged many in the industry to consider how digital platforms can improve their working practices – particularly as remote working continues and is likely to remain in some form for many businesses over the long-term.
In particular, compliance is an area where using technology can reap enormous benefits for advisers. Being based remotely has made it increasingly difficult for firms to keep up with regulatory requirements using manual methods.
This is where bringing on board the relevant technology will stand many in good stead both during the current climate and beyond.
Looming regulatory and industry pressures reinforce the need for firms to utilise the technology available to help them fulfil regulatory requirements.
Indeed, solo-regulated firms will need to have completed the first assessment as part of the FCA’s ongoing Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) by 31 March.
Meanwhile, ever-changing customer circumstances brought on by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis have made the consumption of client data more challenging than ever before.
Use tech to help prepare for SMCR
By 31 March, solo-regulated firms who haven’t done so already will need to have completed their Conduct Rules training, submitted their Directory Persons data to the regulator and assessed their Certified Persons as fit and proper in order to comply with SMCR.
Using digital tools to complete these steps is advisable for firms who are still based remotely.
For example, firms could run an online seminar series on Conduct Training and put in place virtual assessments on a regular basis with their Certified Persons to ensure they can demonstrate to the FCA that they can carry out proper reviews of these individuals going forwards.
Digitise your back office
Back-office systems are also an incredibly valuable resource for advisers as they can help them ensure that client data is entered correctly and they have the necessary information to hand when they need to submit this to the regulator.
Implementing a system which can be updated on an ad-hoc basis can also better enable advisers to update client information as and when their circumstances change reducing hassle for customers and lessening the risk of costly compliance failures.
This is an invaluable feature during challenging times like these where thousands of customers are facing changes in their circumstances due to job loss, redundancy or a drop in income.
Accelerated by COVID-19, physical documents are gradually becoming a thing of the past and General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, is an ever-present piece of regulation that all advisers must adhere to.
Therefore using back-office systems to ensure proper data management offers enormous benefits for firms.
Take advantage of online support
Lastly, many clubs and networks will offer resources online that can further help advisers remain compliant.
e-Learning courses, document libraries and Zoom workshops are just some examples that can help advisers hugely in this area.
For example, at TMA we share a regular compliance bulletin with our members, keeping them informed about regulatory changes and how to implement these changes into their business.
Making the most of tools like these will enable advisers to continue strengthening their knowledge and access the support they need when it comes to compliance.
Leveraging technology and working in a smarter and more digitally secure way will stand advisers in good stead over the coming months, particularly as they continue to navigate clients’ changing circumstances and prepare for key regulatory requirements.
Technology has proven its benefits during the advice process – now it’s time for advisers to realise the benefits it can bring to compliance.