If the weakened pound and unrest around the continent we sometimes claim to be a part of have combined to put you off travelling abroad, the NACFB knows how you feel.
We’re about to commence our very own tour of the UK. It’s a staycation with a serious side, and – as you have probably guessed – it is about Compliance.
The challenge is to get to all 861 member firms within 450 days, as we’d already promised our members that this would be done before the end of 2017.
That is one of the commitments we made in our RoadMap. Finding the right people to make the visits has been the first step.
But the idea is that if we do it, the FCA won’t need to; plus, we can steal a march on the opposition, the non-NACFB broker, by saying that as a body, NACFB members have been given individual guidance and non-members haven’t been.
At the conclusion of each visit our member will receive a personalised action plan so that they can be confident about what extra things need doing to meet the highest standards. For example, we may ask to see an introducers record or a complaints log.
There’s no implication that the absence of these constitutes any kind of malpractice, of course, and we anticipate some challenges along the lines of: “I haven’t got x, but I have got y and it’s more or less the same thing.” But where we can offer particular value is where we’ve spoken to the FCA and we understand how they would rule on various points of contention, so the broker doesn’t need to be second-guessing a large, arm’s-length organisation.
When the NACFB is reaching out to SMEs around the country, we’re very pleased to see how well spread out our brokers are, from Penzance to Peterhead.
It’s when we actually have to go and knock on their doors that we find ourselves wishing they all lived in the same village – Ettington in Warwickshire, for example, which has about the same population as our membership.
That would be ideal; we could simply catch a train from Marylebone to Bicester Village and then a bus. But the logistics of the staycation are in fact the hardest part, because when we get to each broker, we’ll know what we need to see and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises.
The message is that we are going to ask our brokers “How can we help?” - and we’ll have the knowledge to answer the question for them.
That’s why we already have a shortlist of members who have specifically asked us to come to them first. But the clock is already counting down the fifteen months we have allocated for this exercise…so no one will have to wait very long.
*Adam Tyler is chief executive of the NACFB