24 June 2020
By Natalie Harrison, Head of Investment Marketing
Signature is a leading provider of regulatory and business support to large IFA and DIM businesses. In this article, I talk to Elaine Parkes, Head of Proposition Development at Signature to find out how Signature is supporting firms in their objectives to remain compliant, profitable and sustainable for the long-term.
Q: How does Signature support its clients in the implementation of a robust and repeatable advice process?
EP: Signature is part of The SimplyBiz Group, the UK’s largest provider of outsourced regulatory and business support services to the retail financial services sector. This means that when a firm engages Signature, they not only receive a truly personalised service, but they also gain access to an array of award-winning solutions supported by a vast team of highly experienced and qualified individuals, whose sole purpose is to support their business.
In addition to our tailored support services, we provide our clients with access to the latest in cutting edge advice planning technology and tools, a range of CPD events and training opportunities as well as access to numerous apprenticeships opportunities. Our hub of client information keeps our clients up to date on all regulatory advancements and requirements and market news.
Q: What issues do you observe firms addressing when expanding rapidly and setting up a discretionary proposition?
EP: I’ve worked with and supported many firms that are rapidly expanding with or without discretionary permissions. Throughout my experience I have encountered three common challenges firms encounter.
Rapidly expanding businesses be them advisory or already offering discretionary services face challenges in ensuring that the firm they are purchasing will ‘fit’ without detriment to the client. The solution is to conduct a thorough due diligence process, including a past business review on behalf of the acquirer in order to understand any potential risks. At Signature, we ensure that the firm has suitable processes in place to ultimately demonstrate suitable outcomes, working towards true integration and consistency of propositions across multiple touchpoints.
Onboarding new advisers can present additional challenges to the firm. We tackle this challenge with a focus on systems, controls, training and competence. We ensure the firm has suitable processes in place to ultimately demonstrate suitable outcomes for clients and can review the controls and risks which are specific to the new advisors. We update the firms training and competence scheme to ensure it details the induction and CAS of the new advisors and ultimately ensure the strategic, regulatory, operational and financial risks are identified and being appropriately managed and maintained.
Firms that are looking to adopt discretionary services need to consider risk management and the pitfalls of not identifying potential risks, as these key aspects will impact their ICAAP. The challenges that firms will face will differ depending on whether they are looking to apply for discretionary permission or already currently have them, either way the Signature Solution provides unrivalled regulatory and business support to firms throughout each step of the process.
Q: In addition to the compliance support Signature provides, what tools does Signature deploy to help a business grow?
EP: We pride ourselves on providing a holistic support solution that places the needs of our clients at the very heart of our proposition. We work from the ground up, supporting the development of the firm’s business strategy through providing a working plan and vision for their business. We offer guidance and support in prioritising objectives and identifying financial performance measures. Our services are designed to fact-find current business practices and agree objectives for the business strategy programme.
After this is completed, we present recommendations with supporting documentation and then action on the agreed outcomes. We provide support to senior management in all areas of the business including exploring the process for conducting research on investments, platforms and products and the implementation of new technology and software. Our support extends to all business development opportunities, including for example intergenerational wealth plans, marketing strategies and new service offerings.
Q: Does the size of a firm limit or dictate the Signature service proposition?
EP: The beauty of the Signature proposition is that it is completely unique to meet the needs of a specific firm – irrespective of its size. Our service is able to support both large and small firms dependant on their specific needs. Smaller firms may require more hands-on regulatory support, where our team of compliance experts are at hand to support the business model and meet the ongoing regulatory requirements. Larger firms may have an existing team of compliance officers and as such we are able to assist these officers through;
If feel that your firm could benefit from a more specialised and tailored compliance and business support service, then please get in touch and we can arrange a virtual chat to talk through what you are looking for and how we could help. You can reach us on 01484 443 431 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can request a call back: