Few industries have faced sterner criticism over culture and conduct than financial services. Unfortunately, the growing regulatory burden means this challenge is more complex than ever. The Libor scandal, for instance, highlighted the nuanced difference between regulatory non-compliance and poor conduct; between breaking rules and breaking the spirit of the rules. But a change could be on the cards. Financial services will always involve an element of risk management, but the industry is becoming increasingly aware of how their staff should conduct themselves and how they can reinforce this through company culture.
Regulation and technology together will drive this change. Hot on the heels of Dodd-Frank, MiFID II will bring further changes to recording and records retention requirements. These changes mean that European privacy laws may no longer shield firms from the obligation to monitor, capture and store all communication relating to trades. This presents a particularly interesting debate, considering that a recent EU statement suggests the stability of financial markets is more important than the privacy of the individual. The statement is a clear signal of intent to ensure good conduct.
The changes represent a challenge – but also an opportunity. Call recording makes the entire industry actively think about, and improve, its conduct by making individuals more accountable. The best firms will go beyond merely complying with regulatory demand for voice and mobile recording. They will embrace it as a way of safeguarding the institution and encouraging a culture of good conduct. Further still, they will begin implementing voice analytics as a way of turning obligatory monitoring into a competitive advantage. This proactive approach will lead to a raft of improvements – from general efficiency to better informed training and talent management policies.
Technology is not a silver bullet here. But it will play a key role in changing our collective attitude and capacity to foster a more positive environment in financial services. European organisations should start thinking about the potential impact now, to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and technology capabilities in place for the 2016 deadline. The next challenge? Compliance officers will be key in driving this conversation up to board level, and making the culture of good conduct a priority across the organisation. With significant commercial benefits to be had, those that act sooner will find the rewards worth their weight in gold.
Robert recently shared his views on culture, conduct and market confidence with TabbFORUM. See the full video here.