Compliance dominates the game for so many firms BUT – when it’s positioned in the right way – compliance can be an aid rather than a hindrance. 

    According to the dictionary, ‘compliance’ can be defined as the act of conforming, acquiescing or yielding. Whereas ‘excellence’ can be defined as the fact or state of excelling, superiority or eminence.  

    I don’t know about you, but I know which definition most inspires and excites me to do an amazing job in our business and for our clients.  

    In what have been some unprecedented times, I still believe it's going to take more than simply ‘conforming to the rules’ to jet-power us to true excellence. 

    With all the changes being made across businesses and within teams, we’ve seen that it has been the acts of innovation, creativity and ultimately excellence that have made the biggest differences.  

    We've seen and continue to see that it's communities, teams, groups, and professional and personal friendship circles all coming together, going above and beyond, and applying the much-needed discretionary effort, that are making all of the critical differences. 

    The power of excellence

    Now anyone who is as passionate about the power of excellence as I am will already understand. And they will likely have been banging the drum about the benefits of streamlined systems, processes and controls that are well thought through and strategically planned – the very things that are now proving to be the most essential tools for businesses. 

    However, this is not an article on the value and importance of business continuation and disaster recovery; this is an article about why having a business and a team whose sole focus is striving for and achieving excellence is, was and has always been the best plan for success.  

    I can honestly say that, over the last 18 months, as a business, we've seen very little impact and even less interruption than normal in our day-to-day workings (in fact, quite the opposite) – and that’s because, for over 10 years, we’ve always thought a little bit differently and certainly behaved a little bit differently to many other business – we are now reaping those rewards.  

    As a best practice standard body striving for excellence in financial services you would of course not expect us to be experiencing anything different, but we are still a business just like you. A business with our own day-to-day challenges that we have to face and deal with, and distractions that are constantly pushing us to work in the business rather than on the business. 

    So, what do we have in place? 

    First of all, we too have built a management system that meets and, in many cases, exceeds best practice for both British and international standards. While we have to select generic business standards, you can benefit from meeting the benchmarks of BS 8577 Framework for the provision of financial advice and planning services and BS 8453:2011 Compliance framework for regulated financial services firms. (See more here.) 

    Each year, as a business, we undergo a rigorous assessment conducted by impartial and independent assessors who stress test and challenge our ways of working.  

    This process is extremely valuable and has certainly played its part in preparing us for the current challenges and complexities of doing business. 

    An impartial and independent assessment process is established to ensure that:  

    • Your strategic leadership team have the necessary skills, abilities, qualities and attributes to add value in their roles, to the team and to the business as a whole 
    • Your business maintains objectives, plans and processes for continual improvement and that your commitment to quality and excellence is maintained at all times 
    • The needs and expectations of all interested parties are considered fundamental to operational goals 
    • Your business and all team members meet all applicable requirements, laws, regulations and controls 
    • All your team members have all the capabilities to ensure that clients (internal and external) receive the best possible service and that they demonstrate a high level of competence at all times 
    • Your services and systems are designed, engineered and managed to meet your clients’ requirements by the simplest and most cost-effective means possible. 

    While we have only generic standards available to us, you have access to specifically designed standards in financial services. They are unique and are totally unrivalled in our sector.  

    They are worth a look and, once in place, your commitment to excellence will become the foundation of everything you do. It should be understood by and communicated to all staff within your business and become the responsibility of the business or practice manager to oversee, to investigate any failings or shortfalls and to ensure that corrective action is implemented as soon as possible. 

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