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FCA ruling on call recording

Watchdog is set to end leniency it showed financial services firms at start of pandemic; making sure all mobile calls are recorded is now paramount

In early January 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority ruled that financial services organisations must record all communications while working from home. This is a sign that the regulator will start clamping down on businesses failing to comply, after a long period of leniency necessitated by the challenges of the pandemic.

According to CallCabinet Managing Director Darren Beck, now is the time for financial institutions to get their houses in order in this area.

Beck said: “We know companies had to work quickly to implement remote workforces last year, and understandably that haste will have led to some firms deploying technology that didn’t meet internal compliance practices, or rules enforced by the FCA. The FCA recognised the difficulties organisations were facing, so took a looser approach to enforcement. This is something we and many others supported in the interests of fairness.

“However, this latest announcement from the FCA comes as no surprise. If we think back to the original introduction of regulations such as MiFID II, the FCA allowed some leeway in the early days, to give organisations time to become compliant. Over time, this rightly changed. The same is true here: remote working has been in play for almost a year, which is ample time for financial services firms to assess their regulatory obligations and make whatever changes are needed.”

To ensure companies do not fall foul of this stricter emphasis on enforcement, Beck asserts that reliable mobile call recording capabilities are integral.

He added: “With a more remote workforce that is heavily reliant on mobile devices, comes a greater need for mobile call recording to complement existing fixed-line technologies. This might seem tough to implement given the dispersed nature of the workforce, but there are ways of making it happen.

“Firms should focus on introducing technologies that not only assure compliance from a call recording perspective, but also have minimal impact on the user experience. This means implementing tools that, for example, can record mobile calls at network level, without any need to install applications.”

Beck concluded: “This change in the working environment is the most disruptive period of upheaval most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Early on it was a case of needs must, with many understandably forced to flex the compliance rules in an emergency. Now though, there can be no more excuses: firms must do everything in their power to avoid regulatory breaches.”

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