When talking about businesses in the financial services sector, the term compliance has two meanings. In the first instance, it refers to a company complying with rules which have been imposed by an external organisation, which could be the government or a regulatory body. In the second instance, compliance refers to obeying the rules and sticking to the systems imposed internally which contribute towards compliance with external regulations. The main regulatory body monitoring compliance within the financial services sector changed in April 2014, from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority. This brings with it numerous changes in terms of compliance which financial services businesses now have to adapt to.
There are five key functions which are performed by a compliance department – identification, prevention, monitoring/detection, resolution and advisory. A compliance officer will initially identify any risks posed to a business or organisation, then create and implement systems and controls which protect against those identified risks. These controls are then constantly monitored and their effectiveness reported on. A compliance officer is on hand to resolve any difficulties with compliance as and when they arise and to offer advice to the business or organisation on rules and controls. Compliance is vital for complete customer confidence, helping to build up trust and improve client relationships through the consistent delivery of appropriate customer outcomes. Internal compliance systems are usually evolved through conversations with customers alongside adherence to external regulations.
As one of the largest agencies for debt collection in the UK, Wescot is by no means unaware of the changes coming in. In terms of debt recovery, the compliance standards have been evolving for several years now, placing more focus on Treating Customers Fairly. Customers today are often surprised by the approach of Wescot, which places far more emphasis on reaching a mutually beneficial solution to debt rather than demanding pre-determined repayment amounts. As an ethical debt collection agency, Wescot has long been developing standards of compliance which are unsurpassed within the industry, leading the way for others and in some cases actually helping to shape the new government regulations.