Shoosmiths' head of recoveries services compliance, Diane Forster has warned businesses to be aware of the impact of new regulatory developments which have recently come into force.
Forster was speaking at a client compliance forum - hosted by the national law firm - on various developments, including the transfer of consumer credit regulation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 1 April 2014.
The forum operated under 'Chatham House' rules so attendees could fully participate in the debates.
The forum's morning session focused on the issue of transfer for consumer credit regulation. Other areas of debate looked at the FCA high level standards, including Threshold Conditions; setting out a firm's requirements to third party suppliers; outsourcing; and financial crime.
Forster said: "It's therefore essential that firms are communicating these changes, internally and externally, to third party suppliers to ensure everyone is fully prepared, as well as dealing with any ongoing non-compliance, or issues within their businesses and regularly reviewing any resource requirements."
Other advice provided at the forum, included:
- Reviewing and documenting policies and procedures relevant to your business and ensuring they are all up-to-date and being adhered to
- Getting to grips with the current FCA authorisation process and the information required, and being aware of what you will need to demonstrate in applying for authorisation by the FCA in due course
Forster - an experienced compliance professional, with detailed knowledge of FCA Business Standards - also highlighted to the meeting the fact that the FCA has advised that after they start regulating consumer credit, its supervision teams will look at firms' fees and charges practices to decide if they need to intervene.
Forster added: "Unlike some law firms, Shoosmiths has its own consumer credit act licence and, as well as preparing itself for this important transition, wanted to give our clients the opportunity to discuss any potential issues or concerns with us, as well as getting a wider industry view."
Attendees, which included senior representatives from many of the firm's retail lender clients, were also given a presentation on how to comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA) by recoveries services specialist, Jenny Ogden and data protection specialist, Aisling Duffy.