The Role & Importance of Compliance in Financial Services
In today’s highly regulated environment the pressure to comply with regulatory requirements is rapidly increasing, especially within the financial services industry. Because business decisions now require further examination to adhere with all rules and regulations, businesses are now reconsidering the importance of compliance.
Compliance in the financial industry provides stability to the markets and serves to protect customers, workers and taxpayers from ethical threats that are inherit in certain decisions. Compliance regulations also help to maintain confidence in the sector and reduce the possibility of entering into a financial crisis.
To define it, compliance refers to companies following all legal laws and regulations regarding how businesses, employees and consumers are managed. The point is to make sure they act responsibly and ethically and to ensure safeguards to all parties involved in the process. Ernst & Young emphasizes the importance for compliance professionals to remember that success is not only subject to interpreting regulations and providing guidance, but also balancing responsibilities, adapting to shifting business environments and becoming agents of change.
At First Associates we take compliance very seriously and partner with our clients to effectively manage risk. We have implemented the following safety measures to ensure that all staff, documentation and procedures meet the highest standards and audit requirements:
- Comprehensive Compliance Program – detailed process documentation to ensure the company’s policies, procedures and other enforced compliance initiatives are effective
- Compliance Training – for all employees to promote understanding of our internal standards, procedures and requirements
- Due Diligence and Oversight of Third-Party Relationships
- Monitoring and Auditing of Program Effectiveness
- SSAE 18 Type II (“SOC I”) Compliance
- Data Privacy and Data Security Standards
Enforcing compliance allows us to detect and stop violation of rules, protect our clients and employee’s integrity, treat customers fairly, earn trust & credibility and save the company and our clients from unnecessary fines and lawsuits.
To accomplish all this, most financial companies, including First Associates, rely on compliance programs that integrate external (federal and state laws) and internal (company policies) guidelines. These guidelines dictate procedures for employees and clients to follow to implement best practices, adhere to all rules and regulations and avoid actions that put the company at jeopardy.
Corporate compliance is promoted among employees for a variety of reasons to:
- Enhance responsible behavior
- Promote a good working environment
- Help employees stay focused on company goals
- Increase understanding
- Adhere to internal standards, procedures and requirements
- Motivate recognition and reporting of any unethical or illegal action
To ensure effectiveness of the program, organizations should make sure the scope of all compliance programs is understood by all its members; that the program has clearly defined objectives; conduct ongoing analysis for risk, controls, adherence & program understanding; and review program at regular intervals to assess opportunities for improvement.
Another critical element of compliance is protecting customer information. This can encompass any combination of personal, financial or contact details to ensure that individuals remain protected while they are being helped by company staff. This is a tall order for most companies as rules are ever changing and the list of organizations that companies are accountable to is ever growing.
Reputable financial service companies must remain up-to-date with all of the rules and regulations mandated by:
- CFPB – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Ensures banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat clients fairly.
- TCPA – The Telephone Consumer Protection Act: Regulates telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, prerecorded calls, text messages, unsolicited faxes and the National Do-Not-Call List.
- FDCPA – The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: Governs debt collection practices and prohibits debt collection companies from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect debts from clients.
- EU GDPR – The EU General Data Protection Regulation: Harmonizes data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach it.
When appropriate care is taken and procedures are strictly followed, compliance programs protect organizations, their clients and businesses against most types of legal and ethical violations. At First Associates, this commitment to compliance enhances our credibility, integrity and process and leaves our clients secure and able to focus on what they value the most, business growth.
- CFPB (2018). CFPB. Retrieved from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/
- CFPB (2018). FDCPA. Retrieved from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/are-there-laws-that-limit-what-debt-collectors-can-say-or-do-en-329/
- Ernst & Young (2013). Financial services regulatory compliance: Changing demands require the right perspective. Retrieved from HTTP://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Managing_financial_services_regulatory_compliance/$FILE/1303-1044554_FS_Compliance_Bro_V12.pdf
- (2018). EU GDPR. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/reform/what-does-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr-govern_en and https://www.eugdpr.org/
- (2018). TCPA. Retrieved from http://www.experian.com/regulatory-compliance/consumer-information/tcpa-telephone-consumer-protection-act.html
- FSCJ, (2014). The importance of financial sector regulation. Retrieved from http://www.fscjamaica.org/downloads.php?doc=zg9jdw1lbnrzl3nly3rpb25zl0ztqy1db21wyxnzluphbi0ymde0lnbkzg==
- Gasior, M., (2018). What Is Corporate Compliance and Why It’s Important. Retrieved from https://www.powerdms.com/blog/what-corporate-compliance-is-why-compliance-is-important/
- Kral, R. (2010). Effective Corporate Compliance Programs. Retrieved from http://www.corporatecomplianceinsights.com/effective-corporate-compliance-programs-ron-kral-candela/