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There is a professional body for compliance consultants

From Byron Greenhow

In Bill Warren’s article headlined ‘Choose compliance help with care’ (Mortgage Strategy July 17) he made a recommendation that I consider to be poor advice and technically incorrect.

Warren suggested firms seeking consultants should prioritise those with MCCB backgrounds. For better or for worse, the Financial Services Authority took over from the MCCB in 2004 and from that point it was the FSA’s regulations and not the MCCB’s code of conduct that firms were measured against. Consequently, any reference to the MCCB is flawed and becomes more so with every day of the FSA’s reign. As we approach the second anniversary of the FSA taking the helm, firms requiring assistance should seek consultants with knowledge of FSA regulations.

Also, if the article had been published a couple of years ago the comment that there is “no official status and no organisation that supervises and upholds standards” of compliance consultancy firms would have been correct. But not now.

After consulting compliance professionals the FSA requested they form a trade body, which is now recognised. The Association of Professional Compliance Consultants has close to 100 member firms and is run by consultants elected from those member firms. See www.apcc.co.uk for more details.

One of the objectives of the APCC is to develop a recognised accreditation for compliance professionals and work is already underway on this.

The FSA is working closely with the APCC and earlier this year I did some work for it after it chose an APCC firm as an independent consultant in developing the new application for FSA authorisation process.

Following the success of this, I understand that selected APCC firms will be consulted in the revision of other application processes. I say this not to brag but to highlight the status the APCC has with the FSA. The FSA has looked into the issue of selecting consultants and produced a checklist for firms to refer to.

This can be found at www.fsa. gov.uk/pages/ Doing/small_firms/general/questions/compliance.shtml

A firm recruiting a consultant should ensure they have experience in the area the firm works in. Some compliance firms are APCC members, others have consultants who are members of the Compliance Institute, and some are both. A good consultant will tailor their advice to a firm’s needs.

The FSA has effectively created compliance as a specialist profession. Before you spend money on a consultant, ensure they are competent.

Byron Greenhow

Consultant

CS Compliance Solutions

By emailFrom Payam Azadi

Please can we stem the flow of press releases being published revealing supposed growth figures? I am forever reading that a certain firm has increased its turnover by a certain percentage. But if financial figures are not divulged, surely this renders the press release worthless and in turn means publications that publish it are taking the easy option.

I must admit I have used a few percentage figures in the past but this is becoming much more prevalent with many more firms experiencing growth levels of 50%, or so they allege.

Appointed representative figures are another frustration. Richard Griffiths produces a list of AR firms on a quarterly basis but there are still networks that try to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes by quoting false figures. We can see these are fabricated by visiting www.fsa.gov.uk yet the press releases find their way into publications.

People should concentrate on their own recruitment, if indeed they can recruit, and stick to the truth rather than manipulating facts.

Payam Azadi
Head of marketing
The Mortgage Times Group
London

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