How to minimise compliance risk in a remote workforce

Over recent weeks and months, Compliance teams, like many other office-based roles, have adapted to a new world of work. The ‘stay at home’ guidance has seen Compliance professionals and their colleagues having to adapt overnight to remote operations.

This brings challenges to us all; carving out spaces, both physical and mental, in which to work at home; overcoming technical obstacles; maintaining a balance in work and home life; ensuring work can continue effectively.

For anyone involved in marketing compliance, there is an additional layer to these challenges; how can you keep track of regulatory compliance across a distributed workforce?

Ensuring that financial promotions follow Financial Conduct Authority rules and undergo the required review and approvals process can be a struggle at the best of times. When your Marketing and other teams are working remotely, the challenge is magnified.

Here, we look at ways Compliance teams can ensure robust approaches to regulatory compliance, even in the ‘new normal’.

The challenges of compliance when working remotely

Enforcing regulatory compliance can be enough of a challenge when your workforce is in the office. When they are dispersed, how can you be sure that your marketing and communications collateral adheres to FCA rules?

  1. Have – and communicate – clear processes

The first step in managing compliance, whether locally or remotely, is to have clear processes that everyone understands. Everyone should be clear, for instance, on the need for Compliance team approval before any materials are issued. Read tips here on putting in place a robust approvals process.

  1. Make sure everyone understands the rules

Now might be a good time to remind anyone producing content of the FCA’s financial promotions rules. And you can help to minimise the amount of editing and rework needed by supporting your Marketing team in writing compliance-ready content.

Some sort of remote training might help here – does everyone in your business appreciate the need for all content, not just printed materials, to go through the requisite approvals process? Do they know what a compliant sign-off procedure looks like? If not, look at whether you can run some training sessions online.

  1. Improve collaboration – even when you’re not in the same place

Collaborating effectively on marketing projects improves efficiency, reduces unnecessary admin and duplication, and helps you to get financial promotions to market faster.

Our recent blog looked at how Marketing teams can collaborate effectively when working remotely. Many of the lessons there are equally applicable to Compliance teams, or when collaborating across different areas of the business.

  1. Consider security

Non-compliant financial promotions aren’t the only potential headache for Compliance teams when working remotely. Data security has been particularly in the headlines since the shift to home working, with risk experts Aon calling remote workers the ‘weakest link’ in cyber security.

Think about how you share draft communications and marketing materials – often containing business-confidential or even client-specific information – when people are working at home.

Do you mandate the use of secure work emails? Are there rules about encryption of sensitive material? Are GDPR requirements met? All these issues are potentially exacerbated when teams are dispersed.

  1. Could automation help?

We touched above on some of the challenges around sharing information securely. Being able to do this is just one of the benefits of collaborative marketing solutions which enable teams, wherever they are, to work together on producing, reviewing and approving marketing collateral.

Automation can also help to avoid unnecessary and labour-intensive paper-based edits and make your compliance processes more robust, by mandating approvals, as well as creating an in-built audit trail to satisfy FCA record-keeping requirements. And by making your processes slicker, you can publish content faster. You can read more here about how automation can improve your regulatory compliance.

Tackling an ever-changing list of compliance challenges

Regulation is always changing and increasing, while the wider environment (as this year has demonstrated only too clearly) brings its own challenges.

For Compliance professionals, the need to keep pace with shifting requirements is a permanent companion. You can read more about the changing challenges you face, and the ways you can respond to them, in our whitepaper, The changing role of the Compliance Officer. Download a free copy from our resource library.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.