Both Liz and Craig hold recognised professional qualifications and they each have over 20 years of industry experience, working for insurance companies, as financial advisers, as compliance officers and T&C supervisors.
The service they provide draws upon their breadth of experience, commercial awareness and practical skills. Compliance Solutions is a small firm offering bespoke guidance and support on the regulatory requirements placed upon firms operating in todays financial services market place.
We spend time getting to know you and your business, allowing us to offer a personalised service and guidance specific to the unique demands of your practice, helping to deliver satisfactory outcomes for both you and the Regulator.
Our knowledge and experience is used in an analytical manner, to identify and assimilate information accurately, then advising and helping you to address any areas identified with tangible and manageable solutions. We have keen eye for detail, excellent communication skills and a clear understanding of the rules and regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), embracing the principles involved. Our service is packaged to meet your specific requirements based upon the Regulators rules, principles and best practice.
Knowing how important compliance is in achieving business goals, we make a commitment to deliver a focused approach to the application of the regulatory requirements under the compliance and T&C regimes. A full consultancy facility is available to help you choose those services that assist you with meeting your own regulatory obligations or as an alternative, individual services can be selected to dovetail into your existing compliance framework.
The success or failure of an advisory company does depend on the quality of its compliance, which is key to any company’s achievements in today's financial services. Being compliant is an integral part of being an authorised and regulated firm. However, by its very nature, it places demands on an individuals time and resources to ensure the FCA requirements are attained and maintained. We want to help you to deliver your compliance commitments, freeing time and resources for you to focus upon your core business activity, delivering services to your customers.
We undertake health checks and annual audits, to help a firm review the central and mandatory functions, to ensure it is meeting with its obligation. We deliver bespoke and practical feedback to help the firm review and where required, implement any appropriate changes.
This could be used for many purposes, such as:
> In preparation for a regulatory visit;
> to monitor a firm’s Appointed Representative (JVC);
> to help benchmark the firm’s current systems & procedures;
> to support the development and expansion of the firm;
> the due diligence on a firm you may be looking to acquire; or
> the provision of Management Information to a firm’s controllers.
For an advisory firm to address its regulatory responsibilities,
it must monitor and report to its Senior Managers on how it meets with the FCA Principles and delivers the outcomes contained within the FCA Handbook. We help the firm to review how it measures against those standards applied by the Regulator, providing an assessment on which areas need to be developed, with the provision of business focused feedback, guidance and effective solutions.
Monitoring visits can be annual, half yearly, quarterly or monthly, depending upon the size of the firm and the nature of the risks associated with its regulated activities. This will help to create an audit trail to demonstrate the monitoring and reporting process on whether the required compliance standards are being maintained and if not, what action has been taken.
More frequent visits can be arranged depending upon your requirements. Visits will consist of a review of systems and procedures to verify that they are being followed, together with
a review of new business and the provision of on-going
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We are able to provide firms with the
majority of template documents they may
require, to meet with their regulatory obligations. These cover Conduct of Business, Complaints, Senior
Management Systems & Controls, Training
& Competence, Supervision, Recruitment, Approved Persons/Senior Management & the Conduct Regime.
These documents will help to underpin a firms regulated systems and procedures, deliver training to staff, and ensure that a clear audit trail is created, for example to demonstrate client disclosure, know your customer, suitability, supervision and monitoring,
to name but a few of the areas covered.
Many firms now use computer technology to scan and archive all their compliance material including the sales process documentation, either on their own servers, through cloud based solutions or back office solutions, such as Intellflo and Adviser Office/Xplan.
We offer a remote review service, to check the content of the client files, to review the completeness
of the sales documents (client agreement, fact find/risk assessment, disclosure, research, illustrations) and the suitability of the advice. This can be achieved by either allowing Compliance Solutions remote access to the firm’s server, uploading data to our cloud server or by emailing the documents to us
(e.g. as Microsoft Office or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)).
We know from experience that firms like to have
easy access to a user friendly and familiar support
system, allowing them to discuss and query specific
aspects of their business, without the fear of judgement or
Compliance Solutions have experience in dealing with the majority of queries raised by classes of firm and where they are unable to answer the question, they have access to a range of resources, which includes contacts within the industry, and via the Association of Professional Compliance Consultant,
the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service, allowing the individual firm to remain anonymous.
For those firm’s looking to apply for direct authorisation, we can assist in completing the FCA Application for “Part IV Permission” and in providing the support documentation to compliment and add credibility to the submission. Compliance Solutions will then monitor the application, responding to any queries, acting as a point of contact between the firm and the Regulator.
We can help firms to deliver initial and refresher training to all staff on the Senior Managers
& Certification Regime (SMCR). This is a mandatory requirement to help staff understand their obligations under the Conduct Rules.
We can also draft Statements of Responsibilities for firms and to deliver the annual ‘fit & proper’ assessment for Certification staff. We also help to ensure SMCR has been implemented/applied across the business.
Firms may be instructed by the Regulator to undertake a Business Review or the firm may decide to review a particular area of business or the advice of a particular adviser as part of a risk assessment. We can undertake the review of these client files to assess advice suitability, either on-site or remotely from our offices, providing comprehensive feedback of our assessment.
A support service for firms in which we check the content of financial promotion material in line with the FCA Principles and Conduct of Business requirements. The financial promotion material includes stationery (including facsimile headers and email footers), websites and advertising/marketing material to include; radio, TV, magazines, brochures, flyers, newspapers and news letters to name but a few.
If a firm receives a complaint, it must follow the FCA Dispensation (DISP) requirements, acknowledging, reporting, reviewing and responding to the complainant (or their representative) within the prescribed timescales.
We have considerable experience in handling complaints on behalf of our customers, working closely with the firm and their Professional Indemnity Insurers. Our comprehensive service acknowledges and updates the complaint and the firm throughout the process, offering an independent and thorough review service, collating data from various sources and preparing the final response letter.
Our industry experience, knowledge of DISP and familiarity with the Financial Ombudsman Service and their procedures places us in an unique position to help firms respond to complaints.
For those practices whom have appointed representative firms or are considering this option, we can help with the recruitment and authorisation process, ensuring the key documentation is in-situ and that the appointed representative is monitored on a regular basis.
For example this could be a six monthly audit of the appointed representative and its regulated activities, reporting to the principle firm, helping to ensure that they meet with their regulatory responsibilities as defined within the SUP Handbook.
We can offer training to employees on a range of subjects, including the “Sales Process”, “The roles and responsibilities of an authorised firm”, “Supervision”, “Monitoring”, ”Recruitment”, “Prevention of Money Laundering Procedures”, “Treating Customers Fairly” and “Data Protection” to name but a few.
The aim of the training is to enable the practice to create an ideal compliance environment, where the regulatory requirements become second nature to the firm’s key personnel.
As regulated firms will be aware, the FCA are increasing their visible monitoring on firms, for example; the Treating Customers Fairly assessments, RMAR data review, Investment Quality of Advice Process, SIPP review and the Quality of Advice on Pension Switching to name but a few. This does not take into consideration the ongoing desk based Monitoring and Mystery Shopper exercises conducted by the Regulator.
Compliance Solutions can help firms to be proactive in their preparation for such an assessment or can help those firms that have already been selected for a regulatory review.
ts is important that firms recruit suitable people and that they are able to demonstrate this. It must be clear that the individual is ‘fit and proper’ and ‘competent’ to undertake their role.
We can help firms with their recruitment process, from the selection process through to the appointment stage, ensuring the candidate is appropriate for the firm and creating an audit trail to meet with the FCA TC Handbook requirements.
For example, we will provide firms with knowledge and skills assessments, job descriptions, staff declarations, references and contract template contracts.
Throughout the year, we issue to registered firms our “Regulatory Update” newsletter to cover key changes that affect the industry.
The newsletter keeps firms informed from a compliance perspective and contains factual information, guidance and solutions on how to address regulatory and legislative changes, covering issues such a Regulatory Reporting, FCA Consultation Papers & Policy Statements, EU Directives and UK legislation to include Information Commission and HMRC publications.
Firms can annually subscribe to receive our newsletter, without having to purchase a Core or Support service from Compliance Solutions..
For firms subscribing to our Core Services, we provide our Annual Knowledge and Prevention of Money Laundering Assessments. These ‘multiple choice’ tests are a means of demonstrating that personnel are ‘fit and proper’ and so competent to undertake their specific role, at the appointment stage as well as showing that an individual has maintained their competence.
Non registered firms are able to purchase these assessments and we can provide the assessments and once completed, these will be marked and specific feedback provided to the firm on the candidates performance
Communicating with the
Regulator is a key requirement as this
allows the FCA to closely monitor a firm,
its financial standing and its business activities.
This submitted data is cross referenced with information obtained by the FCA from numerous other sources. You will be familiar with the Retail Mediation Activities Return (RMAR) which is submitted by firms on a six monthly basis, to include Profit & Loss, Balance Sheets, Complaints Returns, PI Insurance, Training & Competence and Fee information, to name a few.
The FCA Connect website also allows the review /amendment of firm details (for the FS Register), as well as submitting application forms for Approved Persons, Senior Managers, Directory changes, Appointed Representatives and to vary its Part IV Permissions. Compliance Solutions have considerable experience with the FCA Regulatory Reporting systems and can assist firms in completing, checking and submitting these electronic reports.