Dec 14

2013 The Compliance of Life

Whenever we enter a New Year there are always discussions about a new or changed way of living, resolutions are made and more often than not broken, diets, smoking, drinking, exercise all become brief hot topics as we choose to cease or increase any one of these hollow intents. Then gradually we settle down, we start writing and referring to the correct year, we stop having to say happy New Year (in my opinion it should be illegal to say “Happy New Year” after the 10th January!).

Life returns to normal and we find that we are pretty much the same people living the same life as we lived in the previous month, back in that other country now known as “last year”. This year, however, I have made one financial services commitment that will not change and by making it now and backing it up with the required funding, I know it will be a reality, it’s not exactly a “hot” or “sexy” topic, but it is crucial!

Compliance, go on take a deep breath! For some reason it has become a bogey word in our industry but it really does not have to be. The circumstances are currently not assisted in South Africa by a regulator who carries on rather like SARS or the TV licence people, it’s all threats, chest beating and intimidation, when in fact we are all “clients” of the FSB, we pay their wages.

At Warwick Wealth we decided many years ago to stay at the front of the wave. We adopted and embraced compliance as a way of life and it is simply an everyday aspect of our business. Large resources were made available, to ensure that all legislation and regulatory frameworks were not just adhered to but that the future likely direction of compliance and regulation was anticipated and factored into our business.

As a result our internal Compliance Officers sit on a comprehensive “Compliance Committee”. This is comprised of all five South African Managing Directors, their Financial Controllers, the Compliance Officers and a Chairman of Compliance, an experienced professional who works for the group not any operational body. Hence each Managing Director is fully responsible for their own compliance, but is then held accountable by Compliance Officers, who do not work for their company and a committee of their peers, which is constantly seeing all of their processes and implementation.

In addition, Warwick uses a highly respected and independent Compliance Company and because of our long relationship with the company, their Managing Director is our independent Compliance Officer, thus ensuring an “external independent element”. They sit on the Compliance Committee, they have electronic remote access to our files (which are now all digitalised) and they conduct monthly visits and quarterly reports, they have unfettered access to any office, team, file, director or Warwick client.

All of this is not cheap, but it gives everyone, from the client to the staff, confidence in what is being offered, how it is offered and how the clients are serviced and respected, once they are within Warwick. I would recommend to every Financial Services Company or FSP that 2013 become the year in which you review your spend on compliance. Because just like professional Management Information Systems and excellent business ideas, well funded independently monitored compliance will help you grow and therefore become a cornerstone of your business and your business growth plan!

As a man in his fiftieth year I was thinking the other day about the different ages of man and it cheered me up a little. I think there are actually three, but it’s just my opinion. Twenty five, fifty and seventy five years old. At twenty five we are no longer a boy and yet we are not yet in our prime, we learn to really love, settle down (a little!) families are considered, conceived and careers really set sail. Anything is possible!

At fifty we have learned some solid life lessons, we have loved, we have lost and we have loved again. We know who we are, we have found great friends, we have been cheated and we have grown stronger and laughed at adversity. We are definitely growing up and we are in our prime and anything is possible!

Seventy five was once an age not many of us would see, but now non-smokers and men of moderation in all things are stronger than ever. We have active healthy lives we can look back on life and hopefully those few regrets are outweighed by all the positive decisions we made, the fun we had and can still have and we enjoy who we are, but most of all anything is still possible!

Happy New Year South Africa (I should be arrested for how late this is!), have a great year and know that if you “think” you will be a success and have a great year, or you “think” you will be a failure and have a terrible year, you are almost certainly going to be right!

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