“Some gentlemen from the FCA are in reception to see you…”

September 9, 2015

Would the above words fill you with a debilitating fear, modest trepidation or trigger a well-rehearsed and structured process? Which reaction would permeate through the business as your colleagues realise you are now being examined?
Of course, having some trepidation as you deal with the regulators is no bad thing and over-confidence can be your enemy. However, some careful planning and preparation can make a regulatory examination feel more routine and an entirely more comfortable experience.
Since no performer would ever step onto stage without a comprehensive rehearsal beforehand, we would suggest that if you have not been examined in the last five years (or since inception), or are simply concerned with how you and your team would perform, you consider exactly that – a full dress rehearsal.
Each year, hundreds of global firms of all sizes engage ACA to undertake mock examinations, health checks and independent regulatory reviews to test the resilience of their FCA, SEC, FINRA and/or NFA (CFTC) compliance programmes. Each year, many of the senior managers at those firms realise they would have been entirely ill prepared for the real thing.
Relying on the world’s largest team of former regulators and senior compliance practitioners from prominent financial institutions, ACA will accurately simulate a full regulatory examination, starting with a detailed document request list, followed by an on-site forensic examination of your books and records, highly realistic regulatory interviews of certain personnel throughout your business and the comprehensive reporting of our conclusions…Where ACA differ of course, is the offer of support during the subsequent remedial stage to address our more significant findings...rather than refer you to Enforcement!
Our mock-examinations are intentionally demanding; they test the firm, the internal controls and individuals’ composure during a regulatory examination.
Whilst our mock-examinations are typically requested by existing clients, it is now becoming more common for non-clients to request an exam in an effort to independently review their own compliance and the external advice they already rely upon. Described as a ‘four eyes’ process, this approach offers great value – if only to independently confirm the firm’s regulatory controls are in-keeping with industry practice.
The mock-examination process is fully documented in order to provide evidence to the Executive Board, internal audit, regulators and investors (during their ODD processes) the existence of regulatory and governance controls.
We can focus our bespoke approach toward assessing compliance with a single regulatory regime, such as the FCA or expand that scope to cover multiple regulators (domestic and international).
Following an ACA mock-examination, you will have achieved two things – identifying any weakness in your current compliance programme and preparing you and your team for the real thing.
We are currently scheduling mock examinations for the final quarter of the year, but our calendar is filling quickly, so we would encourage you to schedule your dates now to lock-in a mock-examination as part of your 2015 compliance programme.
Please contact Andrew Welch (andrew.welch@acacomplianceeurope.com) or your regular ACA consultant to discuss our mock-examinations or any questions you may have in respect of this Alert.