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Richard Mill

Richard Mill

By Richard Mill from Business Systems (UK) looks at how Workforce Optimisation (WFO) can help the finance sector become more transparent and compliant with the FCA’s conduct risk agenda.

In a new era of accountability the FCA’s conduct risk agenda is looking to ensure that financial markets and services protect the best interests of their customers, while  creating a culture of good conduct at every level and the market as a whole.

The FCA is doing this by asking companies to move away from a profit over ethics type behaviour , a tick box approach or even an  over legalistic view of compliance and the idea that disclosure at the point of sale removes the seller from any responsibility on the eventual outcome of the product or service. The FCA has decided not to provide a template for this culture. Instead, it is expecting companies to come up with their own conduct risk strategy.

The FCA has, however, set out five questions which it expects companies to ask themselves and be able to respond to the regulator if required.

  1. What proactive steps are you taking to identify conduct risks?
  2. How do you encourage people in front, middle, back office, control and support functions to feel responsible for managing conduct?
  3. What support does your firm put in place to help your people improve their conduct?
  4. How does the firm’s board and executive committee get oversight of conduct – and how do people bring it in to their discussions?
  5. Has your organisation looked at any business activities it is engaged in that could be working to undermine your work in this area?

How back office work optimisation comes into play

Workforce planning is now more complex than ever, carefully balancing the needs of employees, business and customers. Workforce optimisation (WFO) software is designed to optimise customer satisfaction and productivity, while managing costs.

An established tool in front end operations such as contact centres, WFO platforms link real-time monitoring capabilities with quality monitoring, workforce management and so forth. It can automate manual processes, improve forecast accuracy and also manage resource capabilities in the back office, all the time driving efficiencies and employee engagement.

The result is better agent scheduling and resource planning, making for smarter decisions across the board, increased productivity and an enhanced customer experience. Repetitive tasks are automated, freeing up agents to work on more valuable core business tasks, for example.

Greater efficiency and integration

In an ideal world all these capabilities should be taken directly to the back office, enabling all operations to benefit from greater efficiency and integration. A modular, highly flexible WFO solution can actually achieve just this – controlling and monitoring workflows throughout the whole company. This requires integrating data streams from disparate points throughout the organisation, pulling critical information into a single shared dashboard that provides truly actionable insight.  This makes the perfect solution to aid financial services companies in their quest to mitigate conduct risk.

As mentioned, the FCA’s aim is to drive a regulatory agenda that promotes positive outcomes for customers and the financial markets through cultural compliance. A flexible workforce optimisation platform presents itself as an invaluable tool in this space. WFO is used traditionally to monitor and analyse agent performance. Taking it a step further, WFO can be used to bring behaviour and performance in line with established standards. With the addition of monitoring, it can ensure they are maintained at the right level.

WFO has enormous scope in providing a robust foundation for compliance within the financial markets and services industry. Its contribution to underscoring the FCA’s agenda should not be underestimated.

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