Quentin Downes

Quentin Downes

How to bolster your operational resilience and business continuity plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge test of operational resilience.

No business sector has been left unaffected by the outbreak, and for those who do not have a business continuity plan in place, the impact has been huge. If you don’t have a business continuity plan or if your existing one needs updating, now is the time to do it - so read on to find out how to bolster your operational resilience and discover how our specialist financial recruitment services can help you to protect your business throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

The impact of COVID-19

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the international stock markets have experienced the worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. 79% of board members state that their organisations are not well prepared to deal with a crisis event, and according to a survey by the Fintech Fincrime Exchange, only 29% of companies with a business continuity plan included pandemic as one of the scenarios. As a result, a staggering 94% of the Fortune 1000 are seeing coronavirus supply chain disruptions, whilst the coronavirus has already shut down more than a quarter of UK businesses - and more than half a million UK companies are thought to be in significant distress.

Business continuity best practice

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, all firms should have a contingency plan in place to deal with major events and these plans should have been tested. Essentially, the message from the FCA is that despite these challenging times, companies should still maintain appropriate measures to ensure business continuity and regulatory compliance. A comprehensive business continuity plan provides a roadmap for continuance and/or the restoration of mission-critical functions during and after a disaster; however, there are distinct differences between traditional business continuity planning and pandemic planning.

How to plan for a pandemic

Pandemic planning presents a number of unique challenges. Unlike natural or technical disasters, the impact of a pandemic is much more difficult to determine because of the difference in scale and duration. As a result, pandemic plans should be flexible and effectively address a wide range of possible effects that could result from a pandemic. With that in mind, important questions to ask yourself include:

  • Does your firm have sufficient technology to support remote working over a prolonged period of time?
  • Can you effectively manage security and privacy requirements?
  • Can you deliver transformations and changes in a controlled and efficient manner?
  • How can you promote employee and client health and safety?
  • How can you maintain engagement with the workforce?
  • What business resources should be prioritised when it comes to resource allocation?
  • Will your current contingency arrangement last the expected lifetime of the pandemic?
  • And will it expose your firm to any other potential issues?

Financial recruitment services

How to bolster resilience

In times such as these, your business continuity plan should be a live document that is regularly updated according to what is going on. It’s about managing the immediate resilience challenges faced by the firm so that you can continue to maintain operational resilience. Key things to think about and plan for include:

  • How long your firm can operate under significant stress before becoming vulnerable
  • Which important business services could expose your business to risk or cause harm if disrupted
  • Setting impact tolerances for each important business service
  • Mapping the people, processes, technology, facilities and information that support important services
  • Testing your firm’s ability to remain within its impact tolerances through a range of disruption scenarios
  • Ensuring you have the necessary technology and culture to enable a remote workforce
  • Conducting lessons and exercises to identify, prioritise and invest in your employees’ ability to respond and to recover as quickly as possible
  • Developing internal and external communication plans for when services are disrupted
  • Creating a self-assessment document for ongoing improvement

Planning for the future

Your business continuity plan should also address the step-by-step process of recovering and reinstating business operations to a pre-disaster state. This includes assessing the damage, estimating recovery costs, working with insurers and monitoring the progress of the recovery process. Even when firefighting and navigating challenging times, by keeping a record of where stresses have emerged and what has helped or hindered the maintenance of key services, companies can improve their business models. This way, lessons can be learnt from any disruptions to ensure improved resilience in the future.

Why you should hire a business continuity specialist

There are a number of skills and specific experience needed to competently and efficiently set up a business continuity plan, especially in the face of a pandemic, so it makes sense to use specialist financial recruitment services to find an expert. From risk assessment to crisis management experience, project management and interpersonal skills to flexibility and adaptability, a business continuity specialist will have honed their skills over the years, and they will also have a deep understanding of the relevant regulatory requirements too.

When it comes to business continuity, if you want to ensure your programme doesn’t have any gaps that could lead to losses in the event of a disruption, it’s a good idea to hire an expert to meet your business continuity needs. As a result of the current pandemic, many businesses are turning to business continuity specialists to help them with their operational resilience and risk management. So if you are looking for business continuity specialists on a permanent or contract basis, contact Twenty84 to find out more about our financial recruitment services today.

Financial recruitment services

Now is the time: 7 things compliance, financial crime and risk candidates should do during the COVID-19 pandemic

At the time of writing, the UK is currently experiencing restrictions with the way we live and work in attempts to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has seen the temporary (and unfortunately in some cases, permanent) closure of many businesses and organisations across the nation. And when it comes to compliance, financial crime and risk hiring, candidates looking to secure a role in these sectors are likely to have had their application processes postponed or even rescinded. 

This is an uncertain time for both recruiters and candidates; but what it does give us is a moment of pause to consider what we can do to become even more successful once we emerge from this pandemic. At Twenty84, we are taking this as an opportunity to think about what we can change or improve; and in order to continue helping risk and compliance specialists throughout this crisis, we have come up with the following 7 things that risk, financial crime and compliance candidates should do while they now have the time, and before the pandemic is over:

7 things compliance, financial crime and risk candidates should do during the COVID-19 pandemic

1. Stay up to date with sector news and risk and regulation updates

Despite the current restrictions, risk, compliance, and financial crime issues, challenges and regulatory demands remain. In fact, there have been reports of increased financial crime since the outbreak of the virus. New and updated compliance regulations are also coming into play constantly, so be sure to keep an eye on these, particularly when you have a few minutes to spare. By keeping on top of current news and regulations, you’ll not only be in the right frame of mind to work on applications, but you’ll also impress interviewers with your up-to-date and relevant knowledge. Be sure to keep an eye on industries where there maybe an uptick: for example FinTech finance apps, digital banking, contactless payments and so on.

2. Stay in touch with other professionals

With everyone at home and with more flexibility now is a great time to stay in touch with other professionals and re-establish contact with old colleagues. Although you will not be able to see them face to face during the pandemic, this does mean that you will have more time to get in touch via phone call or for a virtual coffee and discuss the latest updates in the sector, bounce different ideas around, and subsequently keep a strong and alert risk, financial crime/compliance mindset. You may even find that new opportunities begin to present themselves! 

3. Make yourself available for contract/interim work

Now that changes to IR35 regulations have been postponed until 2021, this time of quiet offers a great opportunity to make yourself available for any contract or interim work that might be available to complete remotely. If you decide to do this, be sure to change your availability on any online profiles to available for “contract”, as well as on your favourite job sites. You should also let your recruitment agency know of this update, and change your LinkedIn settings to show your interest in contract roles, as well as updating your LinkedIn profile headline to show that you are open for permanent and contract/interim positions. Any experience you can gain between now and the end of the current pandemic could be transformative to your application processes in the future!

risk recruitment

4. Complete online training courses

Being a risk and compliance professional, it’s likely that, although you will have completed your necessary training, you’re unlikely to have the time to further this. Now is therefore the perfect opportunity to do so. While all in-person training and learning opportunities in financial crime, risk and compliance are suspended for the time being, there are a multitude of risk and compliance training courses and webinars that can be accessed online. While you are at home during these restrictions, be sure to explore these opportunities to brush up on your current skills and learn some new ones. You can usually print out certificates at the end of these online courses, which will look great in your portfolio! Which leads us on to:

5. Update your CV/portfolio of experience

Due to your busy schedule, you may not often find the opportunity to update your CV. While you are working on online training courses, be sure that you also take a look at your CV and make sure all the essential information is present and correct. If you don’t currently have a portfolio, this period has provided the perfect opportunity to go back through your archives and put one together. The more accurate, professional and up-to-date your CV and portfolio is, the more likely you will impress employers in your applications!

6. Practice interview techniques

Now is also a good time to research the latest interview structures and techniques, as often, risk and compliance candidates do not have the opportunity to do so due to time constraints. During this period, be sure to take this opportunity of extra time to do your research into the organisations you are applying to work for so that you can answer any questions they may have for you in the interview effectively. Be sure to make note of any questions you may have for them, too. If you are fortunate enough to be in isolation with friends or family, ask them to help you by taking on the role of the interviewer, getting them to ask you questions so that you can practice answering them with confidence. 

7. Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing

Although it’s important to use your new-found time as an opportunity to prepare for compliance and risk recruitment opportunities, also be sure that you take the time to look after your mental and physical health. At the time of writing this blog, UK residents are permitted to leave their homes for one form of exercise per day, and by doing so, you’ll not only be able to keep up your physical fitness, but this will also give you a necessary break from your candidate preparations and come back to them later with a fresh mind. Keeping in touch with friends and family over phone, text or video calls, and engaging in hobbies and interests outside of your professional life are also important for your mental health, and will help to ensure you feel refreshed and prepared for the next steps in your financial crime, risk or compliance career once the pandemic is over. Having a daily routine is also important for your mental wellbeing, so be sure to create a timetable or schedule of tasks and activities (including all the above ones) for each day. Ticking off each task as you go is a great motivational technique, too!

Conclusion

Much compliance, financial crime and risk recruitment is on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, but competition for roles in these sectors is still high - and will likely be much higher once the current restrictions have been lifted. However, by using the time you have been given back due to the current restrictions to complete the above suggested tasks, candidates should see their chances of securing a role in the risk, financial crime and compliance sectors significantly increase.

In the meantime, be sure to look at the risk and compliance roles we have listed currently on our website, and feel free to get in touch with our team should you like any further hints, tips and advice for improving your chances of securing a role.

 Twenty84 CTA

At the time of writing, the UK is currently experiencing restrictions with the way we live and work in attempts to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has seen the temporary (and unfortunately in some cases, permanent) closure of many businesses and organisations across the nation. And when it comes to compliance, financial crime and risk hiring, candidates looking to secure a role in these sectors are likely to have had their application processes postponed or even rescinded. 

This is an uncertain time for both recruiters and candidates; but what it does give us is a moment of pause to consider what we can do to become even more successful once we emerge from this pandemic. At Twenty84, we are taking this as an opportunity to think about what we can change or improve; and in order to continue helping risk and compliance specialists throughout this crisis, we have come up with the following 7 things that risk, financial crime and compliance candidates should do while they now have the time, and before the pandemic is over:

  1. Stay up to date with sector news and risk and regulation updates

Despite the current restrictions, risk, compliance, and financial crime issues, challenges and regulatory demands remain. In fact, there have been reports of increased financial crime since the outbreak of the virus. New and updated compliance regulations are also coming into play constantly, so be sure to keep an eye on these, particularly when you have a few minutes to spare. By keeping on top of current news and regulations, you’ll not only be in the right frame of mind to work on applications, but you’ll also impress interviewers with your up-to-date and relevant knowledge. Be sure to keep an eye on industries where there maybe an uptick: for example FinTech finance apps, digital banking, contactless payments and so on.

  1. Stay in touch with other professionals

With everyone at home and with more flexibility now is a great time to stay in touch with other professionals and re-establish contact with old colleagues. Although you will not be able to see them face to face during the pandemic, this does mean that you will have more time to get in touch via phone call or for a virtual coffee and discuss the latest updates in the sector, bounce different ideas around, and subsequently keep a strong and alert risk, financial crime/compliance mindset. You may even find that new opportunities begin to present themselves! 

  1. Make yourself available for contract/interim work

Now that changes to IR35 regulations have been postponed until 2021, this time of quiet offers a great opportunity to make yourself available for any contract or interim work that might be available to complete remotely. If you decide to do this, be sure to change your availability on any online profiles to available for “contract”, as well as on your favourite job sites. You should also let your recruitment agency know of this update, and change your LinkedIn settings to show your interest in contract roles, as well as updating your LinkedIn profile headline to show that you are open for permanent and contract/interim positions. Any experience you can gain between now and the end of the current pandemic could be transformative to your application processes in the future!

  1. Complete online training courses

Being a risk and compliance professional, it’s likely that, although you will have completed your necessary training, you’re unlikely to have the time to further this. Now is therefore the perfect opportunity to do so. While all in-person training and learning opportunities in financial crime, risk and compliance are suspended for the time being, there are a multitude of risk and compliance training courses and webinars that can be accessed online. While you are at home during these restrictions, be sure to explore these opportunities to brush up on your current skills and learn some new ones. You can usually print out certificates at the end of these online courses, which will look great in your portfolio! Which leads us on to:

  1. Update your CV/portfolio of experience

Due to your busy schedule, you may not often find the opportunity to update your CV. While you are working on online training courses, be sure that you also take a look at your CV and make sure all the essential information is present and correct. If you don’t currently have a portfolio, this period has provided the perfect opportunity to go back through your archives and put one together. The more accurate, professional and up-to-date your CV and portfolio is, the more likely you will impress employers in your applications!

  1. Practice interview techniques

Now is also a good time to research the latest interview structures and techniques, as often, risk and compliance candidates do not have the opportunity to do so due to time constraints. During this period, be sure to take this opportunity of extra time to do your research into the organisations you are applying to work for so that you can answer any questions they may have for you in the interview effectively. Be sure to make note of any questions you may have for them, too. If you are fortunate enough to be in isolation with friends or family, ask them to help you by taking on the role of the interviewer, getting them to ask you questions so that you can practice answering them with confidence. 

  1. Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing

Although it’s important to use your new-found time as an opportunity to prepare for compliance and risk recruitment opportunities, also be sure that you take the time to look after your mental and physical health. At the time of writing this blog, UK residents are permitted to leave their homes for one form of exercise per day, and by doing so, you’ll not only be able to keep up your physical fitness, but this will also give you a necessary break from your candidate preparations and come back to them later with a fresh mind. Keeping in touch with friends and family over phone, text or video calls, and engaging in hobbies and interests outside of your professional life are also important for your mental health, and will help to ensure you feel refreshed and prepared for the next steps in your financial crime, risk or compliance career once the pandemic is over. Having a daily routine is also important for your mental wellbeing, so be sure to create a timetable or schedule of tasks and activities (including all the above ones) for each day. Ticking off each task as you go is a great motivational technique, too!

Conclusion

Much compliance, financial crime and risk recruitment is on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, but competition for roles in these sectors is still high - and will likely be much higher once the current restrictions have been lifted. However, by using the time you have been given back due to the current restrictions to complete the above suggested tasks, candidates should see their chances of securing a role in the risk, financial crime and compliance sectors significantly increase.

In the meantime, be sure to look at the risk and compliance roles we have listed currently on our website, and feel free to get in touch with our team should you like any further hints, tips and advice for improving your chances of securing a role.

 

Seven training and development secrets for new staff in the financial sector

Training and development isn’t just important in the workplace - it’s vital; as much for the CEO as for an employee.

In fact, an organisation's capacity to grow and thrive is defined by how it approaches training and development. The benefits of equipping your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to do their job to the best of their ability are monumental - and this is especially true in the financial sector, where new regulations are constantly introduced and compliance is changing by the day. However, in the current climate, many organisations find financial crime training programmes too much hassle. They’re expensive to run, tricky to organise, and your staff have to take time out of their busy work schedules to take part. But the ROI of ongoing training and development is a no brainer. Not convinced? These training and development secrets might just make you change your mind…

Let’s look at the statistics:

According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay in a company longer if it invested in their career. However, as it stands, one in three people leave an organisation in the first year - so it’s absolutely essential to get your training and development, as well as your onboarding process, just right. PwC estimates that the cost of losing an employee in the first year can be up to three times the person's salary - a staggering loss of £42bn annually - so it’s worth investing in your employees.

The benefits of training and development

There are a number of benefits to running employee training and development programmes. Firstly, there’s improved employee performance due to an increased understanding of their role and responsibilities, especially in the ever-changing financial sector. Your employees will also be more confident and have improved job satisfaction, which will, in turn, lead to increased productivity. Regular training and development also ensures your employees feel valued. This not only means that they will work harder for you, but it also helps boost your brand image whilst helping with employee retention. Human resources are hands-down the most expensive asset a firm has - so it’s absolutely essential that your investment generates a positive return. Read on for the top secrets for successful financial crime crime training.

Financial crime training

Seven training and development secrets for new staff in the financial sector

1. Make sure you identify the needs

High-impact training and development programmes don’t just happen. Instead, they’re the result of a careful planning process that translates business objectives into a tailored training plan. It's all very well understanding the importance of training and development, but actually identifying your employees' needs is the crucial bit. Get it wrong and you could be wasting valuable time and money on training that may not actually be necessary. Most of the training programmes delivered to employees within the financial sector revolve around topics like sales training, anti-money laundering, budget management and cash flow management. However, you should also make sure you don’t forget managerial training skills such as supervisory skills, communication skills and conflict resolution.

As well as delivering training around financial regulations such as IBOR (Interbank Offered Rate), SFTR (Securities Financing Transaction Regulation), SM&CR (Senior Managers & Certification Regime) and MIiFID2 (The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) there are other types of training that all employees need to know about, especially HR issues such as preventing discrimination or rules and regulations around GDPR and the handling of data. It’s about identifying your employees’ specific needs and individual skills gaps to make sure the training you offer is right for them. By identifying your company’s goals, rating the importance of each necessary skill and measuring your employees’ existing skills, you can start to pinpoint any gaps that might be holding them back.

2. Be sure to set clear expectations

In order to identify your training and development needs, you need to set clear expectations for each role within the business. If you're going to monitor performance effectively, you need to have a baseline from which to measure things against. Review new job descriptions and update existing ones in line with any changes to make sure you’re up to date with roles and responsibilities. By looking at where your employees are now, you can also identify where you want them to be in the future. How will their performance improve after the training? How will it prepare your staff to fulfil their roles and do their jobs effectively? By asking these questions at the beginning, you can define your objectives and set clear expectations about what you are hoping to achieve – which makes it easier to review your training further down the line.

3. Ask your employees

It might sound obvious, but if you want to deliver effective training and arm your employees with the knowledge they need to do their job better, you just need to ask them what they need! Use regular and focused employee evaluations to encourage honest and open feedback. This will create a helpful dialogue about career development and enable you to identify any specific training requirements for your employees. Regular one-to-ones or performance reviews are a great way to encourage open and honest communication. You could ask your employees to rate their job satisfaction and their personal performance as well as what could make it better. Also, ask managers for feedback on employees and compare these answers with employee self-evaluation to identify differences.

4. Keep up with regulations

It’s not just the competition that’s getting tougher in the financial industry, but also the regulatory requirements. Compliance training is one of the most important measures a financial services company can take to prevent compliance problems, so it’s essential to regularly review your training and development programme and make sure it is in line with current regulations and that your training material keeps up to date with the latest changes. Your training must reflect those latest expectations for performance and best practices.

5. Be open to different approaches

The effectiveness of your training and development programmes ultimately depends on how engaged and motivated your employees are. When planning your financial crime training programme, remember everyone is different and people will respond to different types of learning better. Some prefer face-to-face learning in a classroom, others prefer to learn online, some react well to group learning, whereas others prefer a one-to-one approach. If your employees can’t feel a connection with what they’re learning, it’s less likely that they’ll absorb and be able to recall the information later on. Some people learn better through hands-on methods, while others learn better independently. That’s why it’s important to provide a variety of ways for employees to learn and practice their skills, so you can find an engaging method that works for them.

Financial crime training

Elearning is popular in the financial sector due to the lower cost involved in online delivery as opposed to travelling required for off-site, in-person training. The ability to reach a large learning audience at one time is appealing too. It includes virtual classrooms, video conferencing and learning management systems (LMS), which are web-based software systems capable of creating and dispensing learning content. The LMS is particularly popular in the financial sector because it automates the tracking of compliance training.

6. Ask for feedback

The best way to show your employees that you value their opinions and that you are invested in their training and development programme is simply by asking them for feedback. What resonated? Were there any holes in the material? Asking for feedback ensures that your employees receive effective training that actually fosters their professional growth as well as your firm’s growth overall. Your training and development should be an ongoing process so make sure you take on board the feedback and compare it to your initial objectives and make the necessary tweaks. You can also monitor and track the feedback over time to identify trends in the overall effectiveness of your training, too.

7. Remember - successful training takes time

The most effective training programmes use layered, sustainable learning activities to create performance improvement over time. A layered approach makes sure your programme targets the essential employee and business needs, while training the right people at the right time in the right way. Training and development doesn’t happen overnight - it’s about identifying weaknesses, building skills and constantly reviewing the process to make sure you and your employees are getting the most out of your programme experiences and training methods that maximize the benefits of your time. Hiring top talent takes time and money - and developing that talent takes time too!

In conclusion...

From increased profits to improved employee retention and increased motivation and engagement to productivity, the benefits of a dynamic training programme for both employees and employers are undeniable. Implementing a well-founded training strategy with an extensive compliance programme and financial, technological, sales and soft skills training courses will help your financial services organisation achieve better performance, gain clients and avoid regulatory issues. Looking for the right people for your business or want to find out more about financial crime training in the UK? Contact Twenty84 today!

 Financial crime training

Impact of Brexit on financial services

With Brexit looming, we look at what impact this might have on financial crime in the UK

It’s still not clear what is really going to happen with Brexit. Will the United Kingdom leave the European Union with some sort of agreement, will there be a No Deal Brexit, or will Article 50 be extended even further? What will be the impact of Brexit on financial services? Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure: there are growing concerns about the UK’s financial wellbeing after leaving the safety blanket of the EU. As well as potential economic instability, there’s also the question of the UK’s post-Brexit financial crime regulations.

Depending on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, there are various legal mechanisms relating to fighting financial crime that are set to be dismantled. FCA Chair Charles Randall has warned that the UK may be unable to manage the risks of financial crime under a no-deal Brexit, emphasising the critical role played by cross-border data-sharing agreements with EU member states. From uncertainty about alignment in AML and sanctions regulations between the UK and EU post-Brexit to what it means for data sharing, when it comes to financial crime, the Brexit waters are pretty muddy. 

Current rules and regulations                                                                                                                             

When it comes to fighting financial crime, everyone is trying to combat the same things: money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions, and human trafficking, to name but a few. But every regulator has its own way of trying to solve these problems. Up until now, the EU has had a uniform set of rules that are implemented across all of its member states, providing a pretty effective means of fighting financial crime within Europe. 

However, such rules and regulations don’t yet exist internationally – and when the UK leaves the EU, they will no longer have to enforce rules imposed by the EU, leaving a question mark above the issue of financial crime. After Brexit, the United Kingdom essentially has three choices about what to do with the current rules and regulations:

  1. Keep the regulations the EU has implemented the way they are now;

  2. Use the EU’s regulations but tone down enforcement actions;

  3. Come up with a different set of rules

When it comes to existing rules and regulations, the first option is the most likely. But what about when it comes to implementing new rules and regulations? Again, there are a few options:

  1. The UK can establish its own rules

  2. They can copy the EU’s legislation and adjust it as they see fit

  3. They can copy legislation developed by another country and adjust it according to their requirements

There’s no saying which of these options the UK will choose - but whatever happens, these uncertain times are likely to have a knock-on effect on financial crime. Let’s take a look at what this will mean for the financial services industry… 

The future of financial crime in the UK after Brexit

1. Changes to trading platforms                                                                                                                          

One of the most likely outcomes of Brexit will be increased trade between UK businesses and companies based outside of Europe. For financial services firms, it’s integral that they ensure the necessary controls are in place and that they can manage any risks that come with this increased trade. The National Crime Agency is concerned that uncertainty surrounding Brexit could see criminals take advantage of changes to trading regulations, particularly around the implementation of a new UK customs union. Essentially, financial criminals will use any uncertainty to further their aims.

In May, the NCA stated that UK-based companies who are looking to increase trade with countries outside of the EU are more likely to come into contact with corrupt markets, particularly in the developing world. This may result in new money laundering schemes which firms must monitor (more on that below!). In addition, there will likely be extra costs for firms to ensure that their financial crime controls are sufficiently robust to handle the changes to trading patterns.

2. Information sharing                                                                                                                                                         

Brexit will also have a huge impact on information sharing. A significant change to be introduced by the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive is increased transparency of beneficial ownership, whereby the EU Member States will have wider access to each States’ register of corporates’ beneficial ownership. For UK-based firms, their involvement in information sharing will depend on the terms of the UK’s Brexit transition period.

This impact of Brexit on financial services could mean increased costs compared to other EU states, due to a lack of access to shared information. Not only that, but the efficiency and effectiveness with which firms with EU and non-EU entities identify and respond to financial crime may be reduced as a result of a fragmented approach to information sharing between the UK and EU. All of this again creates more opportunities for criminals to take advantage.

3. Money laundering                                                                                                                                                               

Money laundering is critical to funding criminal activity such as drug and human trafficking, and terrorist financing. The National Crime Agency predicts that money-laundering opportunities will increase following Brexit. Not only that, but the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future outside of the EU could be exploited by financial criminals. According to the National Crime Agency (NCA), British businesses are at risk of being drawn into corrupt practices once the UK leaves.

Currently, the UK is part of a collaborative fight against money laundering and financial crime. One of the main benefits of this is that EU member states can trace suspicious money across borders through access to the Europol Information System (EIS). This essentially means that different countries within the EU can currently exchange criminal intelligence, making it much harder for criminals to cover their tracks. However, after Brexit, the UK may no longer be part of this intelligence sharing practice. This could give money launderers and criminals the perfect opportunity to take full advantage of any uncertainty.

4. Compliance                                                                                                                                                                        

Whilst details of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU remain unclear, it is not possible to definitively conclude the impact of Brexit on financial services across the country or how it will influence the UK’s approach to financial crime. One thing’s for sure, though: firms operating across both the UK and EU will most likely be looking at increased compliance costs due to increased regulatory complexity. As a result, firms operating across multiple jurisdictions could see an increase in compliance costs to ensure adherence to relevant sanctions and regulations, including additional reporting requirements.

Be prepared!     

If businesses want to be prepared for Brexit in whatever form it comes, they will need to take actions in the following areas to ensure they adhere to national financial crime legislations:

  • Draft new or update existing financial crime policies and procedures

  • Conduct business-wide risk assessments

  • Establish a financial crime compliance function, including governance structures, recruitment of staff, three lines of defence, culture, risk appetite and reporting lines

  • Carry out additional staff training

  • Regulator engagement

  • Develop new suspicious activity reporting processes

As the countdown to Brexit intensifies, fears surrounding the security of the UK are mounting. This means it’s vital that businesses become tougher in their fight against financial crime by following negotiations closely to assess how evolving regulations and changes to customer trading habits will impact them and ensuring that their controls are sufficiently robust to respond to change efficiently and effectively. Businesses must also ensure that they are extra vigilant and prepared with efficient monitoring systems to spot and prevent suspicious activity.

The terms of Brexit are still unclear, but one thing is for certain:

The fight against financial crime is going to become tougher, and it’s more important than ever that businesses are suitably prepared with the right systems in place and the best people on board. As experts in financial crime recruitment, if you’re looking to find the right people to ensure your business is protected against financial crime post-Brexit, we’re here to help.

 Twenty84

Five steps for successful compliance training for employees

Compliance training is the process of educating employees on the laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities.

It is employee training mandated by legislation, regulation or policy. Good corporate compliance programmes help to prevent poor conduct, ensure proper governance, minimise risk, maintain your reputation and provide a better working environment. Essentially, it allows employees to get familiar with the operating procedures, philosophies and policies of an organisation to ensure they recognise and understand regulations, helping them to create a better workplace.

Why do you need a good compliance training programme?

A good compliance programme is indispensable, is an integral part of a healthy and productive working environment and enables businesses to avoid risk. However, compliance training must be done regularly to ensure its effectiveness, and compliance policies cannot work unless they are effectively communicated throughout the entire company.

Sometimes, compliance training can feel like a moving target. But as the regulatory environments continue to evolve and change, designing a successful compliance training programme is more important now than ever before.

Here’s how to deliver a successful compliance training programme for your employees:

1. Craft a strategic training plan

All too often, compliance training is reactive. But isn’t it better to identify potential problems and work proactively to change your corporate culture before a problem even occurs? That’s why it’s so important to create a strategic compliance training programme. Any good training programme starts with clear and definable goals. A commitment to compliance culture has to start at the top and work its way down – so it’s integral that you have a clear objective in place.

How will performance improve after the training? How will it prepare your staff to fulfil their roles and do their jobs effectively? What training is needed in line with current regulations? By asking these questions, you can define your objectives and what you are hoping to achieve – which makes it easier to review your training further down the line. You could gather input from all levels of your organisation, then craft a plan to ensure your training plan is proactive and that it resonates with everyone.

2. Decide who it’s aimed at

When it comes to delivering an effective compliance training programme, it’s essential that you know your audience. Much of compliance training is mandated, so people in certain jobs will need specific training related to that job. This is especially true of financial regulations such as IBOR (Interbank Offered Rate), SFTR (Securities Financing Transaction Regulation), SM&CR (Senior Managers and Certification Regime) and MiFID2 (The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive), as well as topics such as personal account dealing, conflicts, the conduct framework and financial promotions. 

However, there are some types of training that all employees need to know about;  in particular, HR issues such as preventing discrimination or rules and regulations around GDPR and the handling of data. Once you’ve identified who your training is aimed at, you can tailor it accordingly to make sure it’s engaging an interesting. Just remember that all training should be tailored according to the level of responsibility held by the employees and how far it is related to their particular role. 

3. Make it effective and engaging

It’s no secret that compliance training topics can be repetitive. All too often, compliance training is viewed as a box-ticking exercise that needs to be completed as quickly and as painlessly as possible. However, boring training is counterproductive for everyone. If you are going to get the most value out of your compliance training, it’s important that your employees are engaged. They need to complete the training with a full understanding of how it impacts their role and how the knowledge they’ll be gaining will be beneficial to them. 

Design proper training materials and make sure you prepare and deliver them in an effective and interesting way. You should also try to present information in simple and short incremental bursts, using concise language and avoiding technical jargon. Additionally, you could try and use a variety of learning methods and different ways of presentation to keep things interesting, too. Most importantly, wherever possible, you should support your training with real-life examples so your employees can connect their training with their everyday activities. 

4. Ensure it’s up to date

It’s absolutely vital that companies stay up to date with current regulations and make sure all training materials are in line with the latest changes. Compliance is continually changing and new regulations come in all the time - not only that, but changes that require retraining and restructuring are frequent too, especially in the financial services industry. 

All this means that compliance training must reflect those latest expectations for performance and best practices - so it’s integral that companies have training systems and partners that can respond quickly and efficiently to regulatory change. 

5. Ask for feedback

Every training professional knows that delivering the training isn’t the end of the process. Instead, your compliance training should be an ongoing process whereby you continually evaluate results, reassess any needs or additional content that needs addressing and incorporate these changes into the training and as when you go. 

There are plenty of ways to measure whether your training has served its purpose, but without a doubt, one of the most important is by simply asking your employees for feedback. Your employees want to know that their opinions are valued. If you don’t listen to their ideas and concerns, their enthusiasm and motivation will drop - which can have an impact on the whole company culture, not just in compliance training. Ask what they liked about the training, what they would change and how they found it overall. Their feedback can help you to continually improve your training and ensure that your employees get the most out of it. Over time, you’ll be able to see how effective your training programmes have really been by measuring the results of your feedback.

In summary...

A successful compliance training programme comes down to careful planning, flexibility and continuity. Your compliance training programme should keep pace with all the latest regulatory changes, whilst  motivating and engaging your staff at the same time. If you’re looking to find the right people to ensure your compliance runs smoothly, our compliance recruitment experts are here to help.

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