Ensuring your financial advice firm is compliant with the FCA

By Helen Fisher on May 8, 2018

What you need to know about staying FCA compliant as a financial adviser.

Financial advice clients want to know that the financial adviser they’re working with is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA is a widely recognised kitemark for customers, proving that the company they’re working with is honest, balanced and trustworthy.

What is entailed in FCA compliance?

Be prepared, as you may never know when your FCA credentials will be assessed. FCA representatives will want to know about your business plan, your company’s goals and how you’re practically realising them.

They’ll also want to see evidence of your company culture’s commitment to governance, how you take responsibility to protect consumers against financial crime and money laundering, how you treat existing customers (such as borrowers whose interest-only mortgages are nearing maturity) and how you evaluate consumer vulnerability.

Begin your preparations by familiarising yourself thoroughly with the latest FCA Annual Business Plan, which details all these concerns.

Your marketing team

Work closely with your marketing team. They know how deeply a bad outcome from the FCA can damage your company’s reputation.

They’ll also have skills in preventing non-compliant promotions, keeping detailed records and knowing what social media marketing compliance looks like.

Your marketing team members are well-placed to convince the rest of your staff to make sure that they are FCA-compliant in all areas.

Understand your business

Review your business plan with a fine-tooth comb. If you find areas in which the FCA could challenge you, then you can work on remedies. Knowing your weaknesses is the key to building new strengths.

Ensure that when it comes to your financial promotions, you have compliant audit trails and can show that you treat your customers according to FCA criteria.

Finally, be certain that you have due diligence in place when highlighting your products’ suitability, especially to vulnerable groups. Demonstrating that you have an ethical sales process is crucial.

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