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Stage one: Business Risk Awareness Workshops - BRAW

What to expect

The style of these workshops will be familiar to any of you that have attended the previous treating customers fairly roadshows or RDR workshops. Feedback on these has been really positive and the FCA have taken on board that face-to-face sessions are an effective way for them to promote real understanding of regulatory requirements, while allowing intermediaries to share good practice and ideas with their peers.

You will be invited to a workshop based on the information they hold on your firm, so it is important that you keep your records up-to-date (see link below to the Online Notifications and Applications (ONA) system – registration to use the system is easy and it enables you to notify the FCA of certain changes online). The FCA will tailor these workshops for three types of firms:

  • sole traders
  • smaller multi-adviser firms
  • larger multi-adviser firms

Each workshop will last around 2½ hours and will involve discussing case studies based on real firms with other people at the workshops. The aim is for you to be able to spot both good and poor practice and how the firms in the case studies identify and reduce risks within their business.

The FCA will focus on what they believe to be the cornerstones of good business practice: governance, culture and controls. Understanding the importance of good governance, having an appropriate culture and using robust controls should be priorities for any firm.

During the workshops, the FCA will explore these in more detail, allowing you to identify where there may be gaps in current processes and what actions to take to address these, while acknowledging where good practices already exist.

Cornerstones of good business practice

cornerstones_diagram

Culture Governance Controls
  • Demonstrating what is acceptable
  • Clarity of accountability
  • Transparency of decision making
  • Escalation of issues
  • Remuneration policies 
  • How a firm provides oversight of its business and controls
  • Definition of roles and responsibilities
  • Definition of which controls are used
  • The purpose of corporate governance is to facilitate effective, entrepreneurial and prudent management that can deliver long-term success of the company. *(Financial Reporting Council)  
  •  Processes - advice, compliants, decision making, information flow ...
  • Monitoring - of directors, advisers, staff, third parties to ensure policiesand procedures are being followed ...
  • Analysis - of management information about products, advisers, financial issues, compliance issues...
  • Quality checking - of processes and procedures, controls, advice to customer, accounts, FSA reporting ... 

Feedback

These assessments are part of a four year rolling programme and the FCA are interested in your feedback. There will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback at the end of your workshop and they will be particularly interested in finding out whether the workshops have been effective in helping you identify risks within your own firm.

Your feedback will be anonymous and the only aspect they will be able to identify is whether the firm that has submitted the feedback is a sole trader or multi-adviser.

There will also be the opportunity to provide feedback after the regulatory review and any follow up work on how the regional programme has helped your firm. As the information is anonymous they can then share some of the examples with the industry.

FCA links:

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