SM&CR Essential promises to enable all regulated businesses, including wealth management and advisory firms to get a snapshot of how well their business meets the key customer requirements under the new Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR).
SM&CR Essential will aid senior managers in small and medium sized businesses to ensure that the business areas they are responsible for are “controlled effectively” and that staff meet the new customer requirements which are part of the new conduct rules that come in to force on 9 December.
IIC says being accredited with it is “independent verification and proof that a business understands and puts into practice ‘treating your customers fairly’, but this isn’t just a regulatory requirement, it’s also vital in the fight for differentiation, retention and new business”.
By completing the IIC SM&CR Essential assessment, IIC says businesses will:
• Discover their current performance levels
• Receive actionable insight to improve client and staff experience
• Gain independent verification that they ‘treat customers fairly’
• Have validation and evidence that the level of client experience meets the standards expected under the new SM&CR conduct rule 4 along with insight on how well their other conduct rule obligations are being met
• Receive a detailed report that will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the business and the key areas to focus on
From 9 December all senior managers will need to be approved by the FCA.
Most will automatically have their current approval mapped across to the new regime. The one exception is non-executive chairs who will need to be approved under the new regime.
IIC says they may find the SM&CR Essential of particular interest.
All senior managers must have a clear statement of responsibilities, making them accountable for their actions and those of their staff in the areas for which they are responsible.
Almost all staff will be subject to five new conduct rules which include a requirement to pay due regard to the interests of customers and treat them fairly.
John Moret, chairman, of Investor in Customers, said: “The new SM&CR regime has serious implications for wealth management and adviser businesses of all sizes and their CEOs, senior managers and non–executive chairs.
“We have specifically designed the SM&CR Essential assessment to help all FCA regulated businesses check the reality in their business and identify any issues and propose an appropriate action plan.
“From our experience over 70% of managers and employees rate the client experience they provide higher than their clients and the majority of senior managers also believe their client experience is far better than it is.
“The power balance for all businesses has shifted and clients now have more control than ever before, therefore treating clients fairly and ensuring they are satisfied is important if businesses want to retain their client base and attract new business.
“This is a great opportunity to learn more about your client base and at the same time introduce changes that can make a real difference to the bottom line.
“SM&CR Essential is very competitively priced and we believe it is money well spent for any business and IIC will be there to assist with the process from start to finish.”