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SimplyBiz: Safety in numbers

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SimplyBiz: Safety in numbers

Being in with the in-crowd can be a wonderful thing.

Just ask a lone bee if he’d instead prefer to be in the hive with a group of his colleagues, each performing a role which helps to ensure not only the survival of their species, but also the continuing deliciousness of my breakfast crumpets. Ask a wildebeest if it would prefer to be wandering the African plains solo, or whether they’d prefer to join the herd and massively reduce their chances of becoming an hors d’oeuvre at the local lion buffet that day. If you’re still in any doubt, ask a member of the ‘Star Trek: Borg’; while creating colonies across the universe and assimilating anyone in your way into your collective of clones isn’t an admirable goal, one has to admire the way in which the Borg build-up information, and therefore power. Once a piece of knowledge is gained by an individual member, it is immediately shared among the entire group.  

You may wonder how bees, beasts and Borgs are applicable to your situation and the answer is simple: strength in numbers. For example, we’ve been talking a lot about the way in which the FCA might supervise your firm and the type of information it may want to view. When firms work in isolation, we have the FCA’s guidelines of what it wants from the firms authorised through it, but it’s much more difficult to know whether or not you are interpreting those guidelines into a practical process which will meet the regulator’s standards.  

Below is a list of the material that the FCA requested from one of our member firms as part of its programme of ‘ongoing supervision’:

•    Current compliance plan for your firm, setting out how you comply with FCA requirements 
•    Complaints register for the past 12 months
•    New business register for the past 12 months
•    Current risk register (if you have this) or a document identifying the key risks for your firm (for example; financial, market, internal, external, regulatory/legal/industry developments)
•    Information setting out how you will manage and mitigate these risks 
•    Current training and competence plan, setting out how you keep your knowledge up to date
•    Evidence of how you keep up to date with current regulation
•    Details of your plans for the business for the next two to three years
•     A copy of your firm’s most recent accounts/financial statements
All of this was requested with a deadline of nine working days!

So, being a member of an established group such as the Consumer Credit Centre can get you a sneak peek at the type of information the regulator may request, which will hopefully help shed a bit of light upon the unknown. However, I must add the caveat that the list above is merely an example; the FCA will not request the same set of information from every firm. Regardless, it is likely to request a lot of detail, and that’s the other advantage of belonging to a large firm such as the SimplyBiz Group, the parent company of the Consumer Credit Centre, which has nearly 15 years of experience in regulation and compliance. We have a great deal of specialist knowledge and expertise, and our regular, personal contact with the firms who use our services means that we are able to constantly update our material and, when appropriate, incorporate examples of best practice from other member firms. Most importantly, we will ensure that you have the right documents, templates and information to feel comfortable when asked to deal directly with the FCA.  

If you want help with adapting to FCA regulation and keeping compliant on an ongoing basis, please get in touch with us urgently on 01484 443 424.

Attributed to David Golder, Managing Director, SimplyBiz Group

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