How AI can help you report client outcomes to the FCA

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, there’s almost certainly a robot of some kind waiting in the wings to assist you. Okay, they’re not sentient beings yet, but thanks to constant innovation, you can now find complex AI-powered systems designed to manage every aspect of compliance in one central hub.

Let’s take a look at how AI can transform the way advisers work and keep the regulator on side. 

Gone are the days of having your office manager leaf through the company diary with a client on the other end of the phone. In its simplest form of course, AI enables clients to book meetings remotely, leaving your office manager free to take care of clients in person. 

That’s just the basics. With the right systems in place, you can attribute tasks to individual clients and track how much time you spend servicing them. 

AI can also analyse large amounts of financial data in seconds and detect trends, patterns and investment opportunities that even the most experienced advisers would miss. It can highlight inconsistencies, produce thorough reports, and develop financial plans. 

Improving client outcomes is of course at the heart of the FCA’s Consumer Duty – and AI can facilitate that too. 

From the initial fact-finding stage, AI can assess your client’s level of understanding, attitude to risk and take care of much of the onboarding paperwork. It could provide them with specific resources tailored to their profile and preferences. 

But rather than making advisers redundant, modern tech lets you focus on the more human aspects of your business. You might use the information gathered by your software in meetings with your clients. After all, while a questionnaire can give you a pretty good idea of a client’s attitude to risk, it’s only when you have a human conversation that you really get to know how comfortable they are with stock market volatility. 

The FCA says: “Consumers should get communications they can understand, products and services that meet their needs and offer fair value, and get the customer support they need, when they need it.” 

When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound too complex. We often speak to advisers who’ve been meeting Consumer Duty’s requirements long before the regulations came into force. 

But offering a fair and ethical service is only half the battle. You also need to track and monitor your procedures and report this information to the FCA. 

Keeping records of staff turnover, complaints, and policies you’ve sold can quickly get out of hand. Even the most experienced compliance managers can become overwhelmed with paperwork, systems and logins, so it’s little wonder that the FCA’s Thematic Review TR24/1 graded over 20% of files insufficient. 

This is where a compliance management system (as opposed to a standard client management system) can really come into its own. BAT software, for example, seamlessly blends client management, staff training, and compliance, without increasing your team’s workload. 

With BAT’s new AI file-checking tool you can say goodbye to 2-hour manual processes and completely automate the file checking process. The tool will evaluate your advice in real-time, ensure it meets FCA criteria and offer a quality assurance grade. You can collect and manage everything all in one place before submitting it to the regulator. 

What sets BAT apart from other compliance management tools is that it’s constantly evolving based on regulatory changes. We can react quickly when the FCA releases new guidelines, which means as a user, you’ll always be aligned to the latest criteria. 

If you have an internal compliance manager or team, they can breathe a sigh of relief. This isn’t a tool to replace humans. It’s more about efficiency. Even specialist compliance firms can use it to their advantage. 

Kirsty Turner, CEO of IFAC Ltd, Compliance Specialists, says: “The BAT AI File Checker is potentially a game changer. We check thousands of files each year and spend countless hours checking incomplete files. This tool not only enhances accuracy and eliminates bias, but will save time spent by skilled team members.”

She added: “Advice firms will use it alongside the advice process to do fact finds etc. For us it’s more about being able to streamline our processes – we can look at it at firm and individual adviser level to say ‘over the past few months, we’ve checked x number of files, the trends are this’.”

There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world of AI. It could put people out of their jobs or lead to an explosion in productivity. It could inspire more sophisticated scams or make it easier for the FCA to detect fraud. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. 

Although we can’t see into the future, there’s no shortage of positive use cases across finance firms today. The BAT AI File Checker, for example, is already helping advisers to improve efficiency, offer a better service, and deliver more accurate reporting to the FCA. And with the right tools, you can stay ahead of the FCA’s constantly changing guidelines and your competitors. 

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