Saturday, May 11, 2013

SRA Compliance, it’s all about evidence

An SRA assessment can take place in a number of different ways e.g. they can visit firms at their premises or the assessment can be completed over the telephone. In the case of the FSA they would occasionally meet at say a local hotel.

As far as I’m concerned the vast majority of firms do install a compliance culture within to their operations however the key area where firms usually fall short is based around evidencing it all.

In order to comply with the SRA requirements firms should be:

  • Regularly reviewing their Management Information and acting upon any issues that arise; 
  • Reviewing files on a regular basis and ensuring that full CPD records are being maintained; 
  • In the absence of having automated matter management systems engaging a third party compliance specialist to complete an audit on the firm and reacting to any issues that have been identified; 
  • Sending client satisfaction questionnaires so that the firm can establish if the client’s expected outcomes have been achieved and allowing the customer to voice any concerns that they may have; 
  • Reviewing any public facing literature (website, client care letters etc ) to ensure all the content is clear, fair and not misleading; 
  • Analysing any complaints received to ensure that the same issues don’t crop up again.

I could go on and on (as per usual) but the above is just a few examples. Yes there is always the underlying fact that firms must be fit and proper but the main areas firms fall short on is based on not having the evidence on file to show that they are complying and meeting the high level expectations that are set by the SRA. The above areas will almost certainly be assessed by the regulator so my advice is to ensure that you are familiar with all of the above examples as an absolute minimum.

As a final thought I’d like to end by saying that when it comes to compliance, it really is all about evidencing compliance.

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