National law firm Shoosmiths has become one of a small number of law firms in the UK to have been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to undertake activities including debt administration, debt collection and mortgage administration.
This accreditation is part of a strategic business improvement programme by the firm to ensure it achieves the highest possible standards in all activities that it undertakes. In 2015 the firm appointed a new director of quality & risk and has recently appointed a director of business improvement to review systems and processes to increase efficiency across the firm.
To achieve the authorisation, Shoosmiths had to meet a range of stringent requirements set out by the FCA which reviewed business plans, risks, budgets, resources, systems, controls and examined whether key staff had the necessary qualifications, experience and ability to carry out their roles effectively.
Peter Duff, chairman at Shoosmiths, commented: 'This FCA authorisation is evidence of the firms commitment to excellence in legal services, particularly where our work interfaces with financial services and FCA authorised clients. It provides further independent reassurance for clients that we are operating to some of the highest possible standards - many of which are identical to our own clients'. This authorisation provides us with a competitive edge in an age of increasing compliance and regulation.'
The authorisation is particularly important for Shoosmiths' Recoveries Service Group (RSG) which now has FCA permission to carry out the regulated activities of debt administration, debt collection and mortgage administration. Few other equivalent businesses can make a similar claim. Achieving authorised status recognises that the firm is operating with the highest possible standards of conduct across the board, including not only its interface with its clients and the supervision of its staff, but the backroom support behind service provision including file storage, IT systems and information security.
The firm has recently been awarded 'Legal Provider of the Year 2016' at the Motor Finance Awards and 'Litigation Team of the Year' at the Credit Today Awards 2015. Shoosmiths is also ranked in the top tier for recoveries services across the East and West Midlands, London, Manchester and the South East by the Legal 500 directory.
As part of the programme of business improvement, the firm is reviewing client inception and onboarding, undertaking legal process reviews as part of implementing new case management technology and ensuring national consistency across all precedents and procedures.