Last week the UK’s FCA published its third consultation paper on the forthcoming MiFiD II regulations. For the first time, the FCA stated clearly its view on the extent of the reach of the call recording elements of the EU rules.
The key proposals of the FCA paper included “extending the requirement of telephone taping to financial advisers, with the aim of providing benefits to both firms and their clients in resolving disputes in a quick and cost-effective manner.”
We’ve been saying for some time that the regulations would stretch beyond just calls made by traders, but this is confirmation that the FCA’s reading of the legislation matches our own. And it seems from the market reaction to the FCA paper that everyone’s listening now, especially as the January 2018 implementation date suddenly seems a lot closer.
In fact, the publication of the consultation paper has prompted some to question what they see as a spread of the MiFiD II remit. As an example, Zurich’s head of regulatory developments, Matthew Connell, told the Money Marketing website that:
“It is legitimate to require recording where there is a specific risk that is being addressed, like the risk of market abuse, but to require recording just because it is convenient for the regulator to dredge through large amounts of communication, that is not in the spirit of respecting people’s data rights and privacy rights.
“There needs to be a clearer case for the regulator about why the benefits outweigh the costs,” Connell added.
Obviously protecting personal data rights and privacy is important but just as technology needs to be applied to automatically record the calls, so technology can also be applied to protect individual privacy. Our technology allows calls to agreed numbers to be whitelisted and not recorded for example. And while it is important that the decision on whether or not to trigger call recording can’t be left to the trader or financial adviser – it is also only right that a mechanism exists to automatically prevent the recording of personal calls.
Part of the fear of the encroachment stems from the fact that the FCA does also admit that its proposals will also help the authority run its own reviews and “mystery-shopping” activity – as well as being another source of evidence for its enforcement division. Some feel that it is therefore convenient for the FCA to extend the reach of the legislation. But as long as the technology protects personal data, we see that helping the FCA to police and improve the service provided to consumers can only be a benefit.
Of course, many providers are worried about the costs of implementing the regulations, and the FCA did say that it was open to “receiving and exploring” suggestions regarding alternative proposals from smaller financial advisers. At Voxsmart we have been developing and testing handset-activated cloud-based solutions that suit smaller firms reluctant to commit to any heavy infrastructure costs. We’ll certainly be sharing this approach with the FCA as part of the consultation process.
Meantime, the MiFiD II clocks continues to tick, and it seems to be getting louder.