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Firms should use HR to get compliance message across

Mary Stevens, manager of regulatory analysis, Europe, for legal firm Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, said HR and compliance went “hand in hand” and could play a greater role to ensure change.

She said: “The FCA’s treating customers fairly objectives put consumers’ interests centre stage. It is therefore important that all employees within an organisation understand the importance of such objectives.

“Conduct – or even misconduct – and HR go hand in hand, so it naturally follows that HR departments should play a major role in ensuring compliance with anything that could affect a firm’s reputation and financial stability.”

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Ms Stevens said the role that HR played in ensuring the wellbeing of a firm’s workforce, as well as responsibility for training, recruitment, proper due diligence on staff, discipline and benefits, meant that it had a good platform for promoting the mission statement for good culture and ethics.

She said while not all firms were big enough to have an HR function, the fundamentals still applied.

“A lack of adequate systems will result in enforcement action from regulators if it is established that the regulator’s objectives have not been met, so it is important for senior management to consider how best to communicate the importance of compliance. What better way than to deliver the message via the firm’s HR function?”

Carl Lamb, managing director of Norwich-based Almary Green, said: “It boils down to the culture and control of your own firm.

“For example we have a day out where everyone at Almary Green, from admin assistants to paraplanners and advisers, spend a day looking at ethics.

“At the end of the day, which is held every April, they have to sign a form saying they understand the changes to regulation and that they understand the implications of being ethical.

“The culture of any firm starts at the top, and if the top doesn’t get it then nobody will get it, regardless of the input of HR.”