“Looks like we made it
Look how far we’ve come, my baby”
— Still the One
Have you ever had one of those days where you know you were incredibly busy but struggled to identify anything you accomplished?
One of the realities of the modern workplace is that we’ve become more busy but less productive. Worse still, the rapid pace of change means that everything blurs together to become imprecise and indistinguishable.
Compliance professionals aren’t any different from advisers in this respect.
Thankfully, the full Assured Support Team recently took the opportunity to meet, reflect on our challenges, celebrate our successes and anticipate the future.
I’ll spare you the full detail (no spoilers) but I want to share some of my key take-outs.
1. Our people
People are any business’ biggest asset; their enthusiasm and commitment is what drives a business from one stage of growth to the next. The Assured Support team has doubled in the last 4 years and the capacity we have developed in this time is remarkable, from expanding our ability to help clients, to introducing new service offerings with diversity of thinking.
This capacity is what has drawn many of us to this business; to have a hands-on opportunity to work with a unique team that is truly committed to excellence and effectiveness for our clients, and to constantly critique how we deliver these services along the way. We are large enough to have scale, yet small enough to be agile without having to ‘steer the Titanic’, which puts us in an exciting position to trial new ideas and pivot when required.
Our Business Planning gave us the opportunity to gather together after what’s been a tough few years for us all in the industry, with our biggest team to-date, and to get to know each other, particularly some of our newest members who had not yet met the full team in person. The uniqueness and breadth of the team, from NZ Rugby, to music critique, to web accessibility and cultural diversity, it was a joy to get to know how diverse the team is, and the potential for unique and collaborative ideas to grow as a result.
Many of you know that client file reviews are a core component of our business. However, did you know that our fastest growing capacity is our formidable Product and Software Development Team?
With a dedicated Product Manager, dedicated Software Development Manager and full Development team, these keen minds are constantly working on real-time client feedback with exciting plans underway for 2024. Our desire is to make OpenAFSL even more reflective of our clients needs and become even more effective as a Help Desk service, file review tool, licensee review tool, credit review tool and AFSL CRM.
Exciting plans are also coming to tie in more of our Governance and Advice Assurance services into this technology, some of which will be explained in more detail here.
Some of you may not know that we offer varying levels of Governance services already:
● Are you sick of chairing and tracking your Compliance Committee meetings yourself?
● Do you need Reference Checking for your advisers and don’t have the time to manage it?
● Are you considering applying for your own AFSL and don’t know where to start?
● Do you need a review of your AFS License or your Credit License and don’t know where to turn?
● Do you need a better way to manage your registers and complaints coming up to IDR reporting time?
● Do you have outdated Compliance Manual and Policies / Licensee Standards that could really use a refresh?
● Do you have questions about your client and compliance day-to-day but don’t know where to turn?
We provide these services in easy-speak rather than legalistic jargon, if you would like to hear more, please click here.
The exciting news is the way that a Licensee (even a small licensee) will be able to use OpenAFSL to streamline and automate their Governance framework. Dynamic and tailored compliance manuals (updated seamlessly and behind the scenes) with integrated Licensee Standards, Board and Committee Reports. Our streamlined governance will be a game-changer replacing the dated, uninspring and clumsy services most of us have simply learned to endure.
We’re looking forward to these changes making running a licensee much, much easier.
If you need something, tell us, as it could become a reality as we progress.
4. Advice Assurance
Although this still remains a core of our business, it occurred to me that we may be the only compliance firm that offers a complete compliance solution: let it sink in, reviews, remediation, legal, technology, governance, dispute resolution, strategy and advocacy all provided by a single independent firm with the scale and capacity of a larger firm (but without the entrenched conflicts).
The data we hold encompasses over 18,449 client files across 206 Licensees which allows us to draw conclusions, and achieve insights that others simply can’t. We know, categorically, that advisers are improving their compliance standards overall, which is incredibly encouraging for advisers and licensees that have really done it tough over the last few years.
The hard work is paying off and we look forward to making this journey even easier for our clients and advisers.
In addition, the client and adviser feedback from file reviews gives us ideas to improve all of our service offerings with the knowledge that it is meaningful, integrative and productive improvement for our clients going forward.
“Oh-oh, where are we going?
Oh, what’s the future showin’?
Oh, where are we headed?
With all that’s goin’ on where are we gettin’?”
— Marvin Gaye, Adviser and Responsible Manager (eagerly awaiting QAR changes)
It is undeniable that some aspects of the way financial advice, and therefore the monitoring, supervision and compliance expectations of financial advice, will start to change as the results of the Quality of Advice Review start to become clearer and their implementation starts to become more tangible.
Encouragingly, we’re well-placed to be able to see these changes, evolve, adapt and help to ensure that, come what may, you have a reliable business partner to work with who is focused on seeing more, helping you remain compliant and helping you remain commercially effective in the process.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and I look forward to providing you with more information about what’s going on behind the curtain.
Please have a look at our refreshed website to see more about how we can help you manage your compliance and systems more effectively.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org when you’re ready to move ahead.