A new update from the FCA reminds firms that remote and hybrid working practices are still subject to risk.

The Financial Services industry encompasses a variety of businesses, and so too do these companies employ a variety of working practices. Many companies shifted from office to work-from-home based approaches as a pandemic protection measure. This has led many companies to realise that, outside of a crisis, there can be many benefits to allowing employees to continue to work partly or entirely remotely.

However, while many companies are embracing the new ‘work-anywhere’ age, a disparate workforce may have an impact on your firm’s compliance abilities. This has been underscored by a recent update from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has made headlines for stating that its power to make visits to locations of work or business includes residential addresses.

As regulated firms and the regulator itself have a duty to protect consumers, competition, and market integrity, and to prevent financial crime, the FCA reminds firms that: “any form of remote or hybrid working adopted should not risk or compromise the firm’s ability to follow all rules, regulatory standards and obligations, or lead to a failure to meet them.” Not only do Compliance Officers have the challenge of managing regular compliance control functions and internal audits—and perhaps even fellow compliance staff—across multiple environments, but they must also ensure that the conducting of regulated activities across multiple environments does not create additional risks.

So how can compliance officers achieve this?

Practically speaking, the rise of regtech usage to manage compliance and execute work can also help ensure that compliance is maintained across remote and hybrid work environments. For example, using one centralised digital platform to conduct activities such as managing enterprise risk or regular compliance monitoring ensures that compliance can be maintained regardless of where employees are working from. Additionally, software which provides a secure digital location for activities such as remote attestations or document-sharing can assist with both remote oversight and workflow management and with providing clear audit trails for the regulator.

The regulator is also looking for compliance with the SM&CR scheme. Having an appointed Senior Manager with oversight over compliance activities, wherever they are conducted, helps with improving culture, governance, and accountability within your firm. Senior Managers in financial services firms—and indeed managers of various kinds in industries where staff can work remotely—often benefit from using dedicated digital tools to help maintain oversight and assign tasks.

Being a Compliance Officer or Senior Manager in the current ‘new normal’ of work is not without its challenges, from keeping up with industry developments and regulatory expectations to overseeing an ever-evolving workforce. Taking advantage of the security and connection offered by regtech and compliance management platforms is a simple yet highly effective step that can help firms stay on top of their many risk and compliance demands.

Find out more about how the ComplyPortal platform can help remote-and hybrid-working Compliance professionals at: https://complyportal.uk/modules

About ComplyPortal:

First developed in 2011 by compliance professionals for compliance officers, ComplyPortal offers workflow, automation, and several modules to help firms with control and regulatory compliance monitoring.

ComplyPortal simplifies financial services regulatory compliance management on an easy-to-use cloud-based comprehensive compliance platform. It enables compliance officers, risk officers and senior management to keep track of their firm’s regulatory responsibilities and workflows. Our platform includes the following modules, among others:

  • Monitoring: a year-round schedule pre-populated with monitoring questionnaires to ease compliance processes.
  • Registers: lists controlled by the Compliance officer, but easy for staff to view.
  • Risk: map and control risk areas to effectively identify and manage risk for your firm.
  • eKYC solution: perform comprehensive searches, including client identity verification, document authenticity, and more for a comprehensive KYC and AML approach