There is no shortage of regulatory technology – so-called regtech – in the financial services industry.
But how much does this innovation help Compliance teams?
We explore whether technology really can make your life easier.
What is Compliance technology?
When people talk about technology, it can bring to mind images of trendy financial start-ups with quirky names.
But Investopedia defines regtech as anything ‘created to address regulatory challenges in the financial services sector through innovative technology’.
The FCA is very keen to make the most of new technologies – whether as innovative front-ends or ways to make regulatory compliance easier and more robust. In a speech last autumn, the FCA’s Chris Woolard confirmed that the regulator wants to support more efficient ways for firms to comply with their requirements.
What are the ways regtech can help Compliance teams?
Technology can have huge benefits for you in a number of ways. It can reduce the time and resource you spend on approvals – so freeing you up to keep track of new regulation, and enabling you to advise on and approve new client solutions.
This is where you and your colleagues should be focusing your time and expertise – not on repetitive paperwork and duplicatory manual processes.
Freeing up resource by automating some or all of your processes increase firms’ capacity to deliver innovative solutions for customers.
- Speed up your processes
Compliance technology often refers to the automation of your review and approval processes. The benefits of automation for Compliance teams are well-recognised – and increasing efficiency is one of the main advantages.
Reviewing and approving financial promotions and client communications is a major part of your role, so making your approval process better can pay huge dividends.
Automating part or all of your processes removes duplication and inefficiency, replacing inefficient paper trails and manual processes with slick, collaborative reviewing.
- Make collaboration easier
Increasingly, teams are dispersed across offices and even countries. It’s harder than ever to share paper-based comments and keep track of a hard-copy review trail.
Regtech enables collaborative reviewing – making sure no comments are overlooked. The approvals process is significantly speeded up through simultaneous reviews and real-time comments, reducing duplication. You, and your Marketing team, are spared the onerous task of shifting through reams of – often conflicting or repetitive – amendments. Version control is improved.
- Reduce the potential for regulatory breaches
Technology can mandate compliance review and approval, making it far less likely that breaches slip through the net.
Whether it’s an automated workflow system that prevents publishing until the appropriate person has signed off, or an online slide library that stores and watermarks approved content – technology can prevent unapproved materials being released.
- Help with branding and design
Often, the issues that Compliance teams pick up aren’t regulatory no-nos but brand, spelling or grammar issues, or inaccurate corporate data. Technology can help here, too.
Branded templates for documents avoid stretched logos or out of date footers. Make them intuitive and user-friendly and the business has no excuse for outdated or incorrect brand assets. Producing professional financial promotions in less time becomes easier for everyone.
- Reduce your workload
You and your colleagues are bogged down in admin. The duplication and paperwork caused by inefficient processes not only delays getting your solutions to market, it eats into your limited time and prevents you from focusing on the strategic issues you should focus on.
Reduce this admin and you move the Compliance team from a process-driven operations team, to a strategic partner to the business. Your advice on regulatory headwinds can be invaluable to your firm – but too often you are too busy to focus on the future.
- Help you to adapt and cope with change
The regulatory landscape is constantly shifting. Keeping an eye on changes and identifying the ways your firm needs to adapt to remain compliant is a key part of your role. But as we’ve touched on, this can be near-impossible if your head is buried in a pile of paperwork.
Not only do more efficient processes free up your time to be more prepared, technology can make it easier for you to adapt your approach to meet new requirements. Tweaking your compliance processes is far simpler when they are standardised and centralised – not documented on a variety of systems.
- Ensure compliant record-keeping
On this note, keeping compliant records of your review and approvals process is an integral part of complying with the FCA’s financial promotions rules. Automated solutions create inbuilt audit trails that meet regulatory requirements. Read more about what is needed for FCA-compliant record keeping.
How could automation help your team?
If you want to explore the potential technology has for your firm’s compliance, you might like to download a free copy of our whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. You can read a copy here.