Many of the new business enquiries we receive are from firms who are, let’s say, ‘disgruntled’ with their current compliance offering.

One of the most common complaints is the lack of actual support and guidance received, which you would think would be fairly fundamental.

Following the introduction of Consumer Duty, the pace of change in financial compliance shows no signs of slowing down and it is becoming increasingly difficult for firms – particularly smaller ones with no regulatory expertise internally – to keep up. External compliance support is no longer optional, it is essential.

But, before you jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, there’s a few questions you should ask any new provider before signing on the dotted line:

  1. What will I get for my money? Understanding what the fee you are being charged actually covers is a pretty good starting point. Take time to compare and contrast the services offered by different suppliers and what benefits you will receive. Will you be assigned a set number of hours per month from a hands-on consultant, or do you just have access to pages and pages of digital documentation?
  2. How many of the features I’m paying for will I actually need? How much onus does the supplier put on you to identify and implement policies and procedures? If you don’t have the specific expertise, it’s all too easy to overlook the things you should be doing and invest too much time in fringe compliance activities that aren’t critical or a good use of time. Taking a commercial approach to compliance should be at the forefront of your mind moving forwards.
  3. How consistent is the service on offer? Consistency is key when it comes to compliance. How many times have you felt it necessary to explain the nature of your business operation, once again, to someone who is supposed to be supporting you? The challenges of implementing FCA guidance require the steady hand of an experienced professional who knows you and your activities, not the ministrations of transient ‘support’ personnel.
  4. Will you tailor your support to my business? For many large compliance providers, it can be easier and more profitable to overload advisers with large volumes of online documentation and expect them to work out what they do and don’t need. This ‘one size fits all’ approach can be overwhelming. What you really want is someone to show you how to meet the essential compliance criteria and a safe pair of hands to implement/review it for you.
  5. What will I actually be paying per month? It can be vexing to discover you are being charged hundreds of pounds a month (or a percentage of your turnover) for what amounts to little more than access to a website or ‘hotline’ staffed by faceless advisers. We would urge you to take a closer look at the financial arrangements you are being offered. Fees can all too often be surprisingly high and better value options are available if you shop around.

Not all compliance services are equal and with regulatory requirements on the increase, taking the time to compare your current provider against the competition, is well worth the effort. A more personalised, supportive approach is available and we’re the proof!

If you are reviewing your compliance arrangements and would like to speak to us about the bespoke packages we offer to SMEs, don’t hesitate to contact us on (0161) 521 8641 or email:

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