SimplyBiz launches support package for discretionary wealth management firms

SimplyBiz has launched a range of support for discretionary wealth managers, following the publication of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) recent ‘Dear CEO’ letter. 

The communication, entitled ‘FCA Expectations for Wealth Management and Stockbroking Firms’, was issued on 8th November, and set out the main risks of harm in the sector, the regulator’s priorities, and the standards and actions it expects of firms.

It also gave firms an insight into the supervisory activity the FCA intends to carry out.

SimplyBiz’s specialist discretionary compliance advisory team launched a range of support material, including a gap analysis and ‘record of action taken’ tool to complement discretionary support services, including Discretionary Governance Risk and Control audits, Discretionary Investment Management reviews, and Financial Crime, Supervision, and Advice Process audits, as well as an Advice Quality Review Service, and ICARA Support.

Gareth Johnson (pictured), head of investment management compliance for SimplyBiz, said: “We welcome the FCA’s recognition of the importance of the discretionary wealth management and stock broking firms’ sector, but there are some stark messages in this letter, including the view that it is one of the higher risk sectors and that supervision will become more assertive, proactive, and data driven.

“Consistent with the implementation of Consumer Duty this year, the need for firms to be sure not only that they are compliant but to be able to provide strong documentary and data driven evidence of their compliance is now at an all-time high.”

He added: “That said, this communication can be seen as an opportunity for firms and their senior managers to get ahead of the curve and to demonstrate how they meet the regulator’s expectations in these areas, highlight strengths, and identify any weaknesses that may need to be prioritised and addressed in advance of any regulatory scrutiny. 

“It is also clear that we are dealing with an evidentially led regulator with the FCA highlighting that it will operate a data orientated approach to identify ‘outliers’ in this sector. 

“We understand that meeting the FCA’s requirements may pose significant challenges for many firms, and believe that our specialist team’s focus on the sector and comprehensive, yet flexible, package of support will help discretionary firms understand the areas upon which they need to concentrate, and give them the tools and advice needed to make the necessary changes.”