Operating an IFA business under ‘lockdown’ has already prompted many advisors to review their compliance support services as they look to gear up for a post-COVID-19 business landscape.
With a raft of new legislation imminent and a sharper focus on small and medium-sized advisers by the FCA, we predict that even more financial advisers will seek out better suited, personalised, bespoke compliance support services than the ‘one size fits all’ approach which has dominated the market in recent years.
With all that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the top five things you should consider before switching your compliance support services provider.
ONE: What do you get for the money you pay?
Understanding what you actually get is a good starting point. Take the time to analyse what useful services you are getting and what benefits you are receiving. Do you get a set number of hours per month from a dedicated professional or do you just get access to a website? Are you paying for a hands-on service by an experienced professional or just pages of information or digital documentation?
TWO: How much of the features you are paying for do you actually use?
How much of the onus is on you to identify and implement procedures and policies? All too often, it’s easy to overlook the things you should be doing and instead invest too much time on inconsequential or fringe compliance activities that simply aren’t core or commercial for your business. Taking a commercial approach to compliance should be at the forefront of every advisors mind moving forwards.
THREE: How consistent is your existing service?
Consistency is key when it comes to compliance. How many times do you feel you need to explain your business operation or activities to someone you don’t know on the phone, via email or a chatbot? The coronavirus crisis has brought this into sharper focus as advisors have sought out advice for their business on implementing FCA guidance which has been made more challenging by the nature of transient ‘support personnel’.
FOUR: Is it tailored towards your own business needs?
For many large compliance service providers, it can be easier and more profitable to overload advisers with large volumes of online documentation and rely on them to sift through the mountain to decide what they will and won’t need. This ‘one size all’ approach often overwhelms advisers with the paradox of choice – when in fact all they really want is to meet the essential criteria for compliance and get a safe pair of hands to implement and review it each month.
FIVE: What are you actually paying?
It can be vexing for advisers to discover that they’re paying hundreds of £s a month for what amounts to little more than access to a website or a ‘hotline’ staffed by anonymous consultants. It’s a useful exercise to take a closer look at the financial arrangement. All too often it can be surprisingly high and in the current economic climate it is a good opportunity to shop around and get better value.
We just don’t think it will be ‘business as usual’ for many IFAs. This crisis means that advisers – and their clients – will expect a more personalised, supportive approach moving forwards. Reviewing your current compliance support requirements is a good place to start.
WATCH: our ‘quick guide’ to reviewing your existing compliance support provider:
If you are reviewing your compliance support services for a post COVID-19 recovery and want a personal, bespoke service for your practice speak to us now about our service.