The financial services industry is no stranger to the eagle eyes of regulators. Recent times have seen a surge in fines, predominantly targeting banks and investment firms, for lapses in communication compliance.
With the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) joining forces, firms have been taken to task for their ‘widespread and longstanding failures’ in capturing and preserving electronic communications. Cumulative fines for off-channel communications now loom large at an astonishing $2.5bn+. Regulatory bodies are sending an unequivocal message: the bar for compliance has been raised.
The emerging regulatory landscape demands a paradigm shift in how businesses address communication compliance. A proactive stance, one of self-reporting and corrective action, can yield benefits in the form of reduced fines. Recent precedents show firms, having self-reported off-channel communications before a regulator steps in, managing to slash their penalties considerably. Measures taken, from strengthening relevant policies to implementing state-of-the-art surveillance platforms, show a deep commitment to compliance.
But in an age of digital transformation, can firms strike a balance between convenience and compliance? Despite the complexities arising from the myriad of digital channels and evolving customer preferences, the answer is a resounding yes. The crux of the challenge for compliance teams lies in tracking diverse communication modes. The way forward? A cloud-based unified communications platform equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Such platforms not only ensure that every form of communication is archived but also pave the way for automated risk detection. When regulatory bodies come knocking, compliance teams can promptly provide the requisite data.