Interview with IFAC CEO & Compliance director

In terms of file checks, promotions, it checks activities and any tasks and things we’ve got coming up so rather than looking in the diary or in outlook you can let it alert you proactively. You can also log things against the client and see how much time is spent against the client. This means you can look to see how much time and cost it takes to service clients. This therefore helps with the FCA and Consumer Duty requirements; you can say ‘This is why this service costs this much because you can show the time spent n each client.’ BAT Software goes a step further than other systems in this sense.

Individual advice firms can use the software, but Compliance firms like us can too. Advice firms will use it alongside the advice process to do factfinds 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’. It’s so smart it will do KPIs and risks for firm at firm level and how what’s on green level of risk – so we can see that’s low so we can pick up on actual advisers as well and then then drill down system to say 19 are on green and one is on red, great for systems and controls his is the way to do Consumer Duty – we’ve had this many files and almost all are suitable but this one as problem all there at touch of a button, really useful for them. I’ve worked as an adviser and
I’ve never seen anything like this system.

Other larger back office systems are more of a client management system – BAT is compliance management system. Larger back office systems like Intelliflo are great for what they do, but it depends on what you’re looking for, the way the FCA is going you need everything to be centralised, stop using spreadsheets when you’ve got a system you can put it into.

I’ve done file checking through intelligent office and while it’s ok, it’s not intelligent enough (ironically!) not intuitive enough, it can’t easily tie things up, connect things. With BAT you can these are the products an adviser is selling and these are the providers they’re using and how they tie in.

You can use it for SM&CR and visualise how people getting on in the year, it’s so visual, the system is so simple not something that’s going to need training up on.

I’ve met firms who’ve had the money to try and create their own systems like this, then they’ve found BAT and wished they could have just used this. It does what every adviser wants to be able to do for efficiency and what the FCA wants them to do for compliance.

In the KPI section, you have lovely little graphs that tell you what your KPIs look like.

You get alerts when you log in of what’s coming up.

You can look at firm level and see what sth looks like over period of time, file checker is a good example, shows how good firm’s doing sth, can see at click of button, huge reporting area in there, can see audits, this area is red need instant attention, dashboard overview. Can do full report on the firm that includes all of those things.

So a compliance manager can do reporting at firm level and a leader can do reporting at adviser level – makes their 1-1s so much simpler. Can do risk score, audit, KPIs, tells you what risk score is numbers colour coded. So easy to be able to use and makes things far more streamlined fact it’s at touch of button means it’s not hard to use. That ‘s what it needs to be for firms.

If firms used it to its fullest capacity it would make things like FCA returns (reporting) much easier from that point of view (if you had link to Xero accounting would be game changer).

FCA ask for reports from firms on things like what products they’ve advised on, turn over of staff, complaints. BAT loads these reports. The hardest thing is how many policies have been sold and the figures so having some of those things is useful. Supports compliance manager (not replaces) – you still need someone there understands the importance of the information coming out, but free up time to do
many other things on their plate.

The FCA want more and more and so for advisers to be on the front foot, they need to work with a software provider who is also on th front foot and can make changes and updates quickly in line with new legislation. Because BAT are small team they can do this. And they use user feedback too for this.

Lots of software terms say do tell us things we could improve on but you get nothing back from them. BAT are coming at it from ground level – you can actually say sth and it does get properly considered.

Great comms tool and does all the notifications too, that’s where having the proper outlook integration would be good because if people aren’t logged into it all the time – we are always in it, but if you’re not, you could get a notification – that side of it could be a bit smarter.

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