Month: January 2020

Best NLP Regtech Firm 2019

Best NLP Regtech Firm 2019

The team at Waymark Tech are delighted to have been named Best NLP Regtech Firm 2019 in Wealth & Finance International’s 2019 Artificial Intelligence Awards!

To read more about the awards, see their press release here: https://lnkd.in/epXeiXA.

To see our award, it’s here: https://lnkd.in/edmbjsH.

Wealth & Finance International is dedicated to providing fund managers and institutional private investors around the world with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

FCA Issues First Fine Against Claims Management Firm - Waymark Tech Blog

FCA Issues First Fine Against Claims Management Firm

The FCA has issued its first fine against a claims management company since it took over regulation of the sector eight months ago. It’s a finding which should signal the need for financial institutions to maintain the highest standards of transparency when communicating to customers.

Essex-based Professional Personal Claims (PPC) was fined £70,000 by the regulator for misleading branding and for submitting inaccurate or misleading claims to banks.

The FCA also believed that the firm was attempting to give customers the impression that they were making claims direct to those banks, when this of course, was not the case. PPC operated websites with the logos of five banks which contained their domains. The FCA said that this muddied the water of what customers might expect.

Customers could easily have been confused that the claims were being submitted directly to the banks rather than through a claims management firm in return for a fee.

“PPC’s misleading website and marketing material suggested PPC was associated with the five banks when this was not the case,” said Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement. “Claims management firms must ensure their advertising is accurate. Not only in terms of what they say about themselves and their services but also in terms of what is represented.”

A lack of detail

The second charge is arguably just as damaging. People use claims management firms because they either don’t want the hassle of making the claim themselves or they aren’t confident they will fill out the forms correctly.

However, according to the FCA, PPC submitted claim forms to the banks which were either misleading or contained the wrong information.

The claims had already been made by the former regulator before the FCA took over, which had received 14 complaints about the company. PPC had originally challenged the finding in court, before withdrawing their claim in September leaving the FCA to adjudicate the penalty.

What can we learn?

This fine comes at a difficult time for claims management firms. The end of the PPI deadline leaves many people wondering what the future will bring for them. The FCA has only around 350 firms registering with them, compared to 700 during the height of the claims process.

The reputation of the sector is also extremely shaky. It has been blamed for misleading customers and also creating a compensation culture which has cost the banks billions.

If claims management firms are to go forward, the FCA, has served notice that it expects it to adhere to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. Advertising must be scrupulously accurate, communication must be clear and they will need to ensure all documentation is accurate, complete and correct. That might be something of an adjustment to a sector which has often thrived on ambiguity.

Before the deadline, the FCA had launched a high-profile marketing campaign to inform people about their rights and ensure they understood that they could make the claim themselves without using a claims firm.

Going forward they will have to ensure they are whiter than white, being clear about what they offer, how much they charge and that they are not affiliated with any bank or financial institution.

Bumber year for FCA fines - Waymark Tech Blog

2019 Proves to be a Bumper Year for FCA Fines

New figures suggest 2019 was a big year for the FCA when it came to fines, as it gets increasingly tough on a range of oversights. From mis-selling, to company culture and failing to protect customers, the regulator is making good on its commitment to clean up the financial sector. The lesson for financial institutions is that compliance is becoming increasingly central to their business.

According to a report in the Financial Times, penalties levied by the FCA totaled £391 million in 2019 – six times higher than in 2018 and the highest since 2015. A growing number of those fines were in “block buster” territory with nine fines being higher than £10 million, compared to just two in 2018.

The dubious honour of the top offender goes to Standard Chartered who were fined £102 million in April as part of a wider $1.1 billion set of penalties for violating sanctions and failing to heed red flags about its customers, even when one of them opened an account with $500,000 stuffed in a suitcase.

The biggest fine for an individual was £76 million for Stewart Ford who was behind the so-called death bond firm Keydata.

The most common breach has been mis-selling with Carphone Warehouse and Standard Life both receiving fines of around £30 million.

Lessons to learn

The FCA is flexing its muscles and showing a greater willingness to use its powers and fight cases. That will mean a number of things going forward…

Costs of compliance is likely to grow: A recent survey from risk.net found that 62% of firms expect their total compliance budget to increase over the next 12 months and 64% expect the cost of senior compliance staff to increase.
Personal liability will rise: The same survey finds that 70% expect the personal liability of staff to rise. The arrival of SMCR is going to put senior managers directly under the spotlight.
Culture will need to improve: The FCA has made a number of statements about the value of culture and their intention to use it as a risk evaluator for compliance. Risk.net’s survey finds that 71% of firms expect more compliance involvement in establishing a compliant tone.
Leading by example: Senior figures will have to lead from the top. They must ensure an environment where positive behaviour is rewarded
Oversight: A common theme in breaches over the year has been a lack of oversight. Firms will be expected to demonstrate that they have done everything they can to ensure a positive culture is put in place and people on the front line are adhering to that culture day in day out.
Reporting and transparency: As a look at the breaches on our Global Regulatory database demonstrates, failure to respond quickly and be transparent exacerbates the scale of fines. Firms will need to be open about measures they are taking and to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the rules.

A busy year ahead

2020 is likely to be an extremely busy year as firms get used to new regulations and the stance taken by regulators. Compliance will be a constant issue and will be a drain on resources. Firms will help themselves by putting compliance front and centre, staying up to date with developments, learning lessons from the mistakes of others and establishing a positive culture which minimises the chances of further non-compliance.

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