Are you prepared for MiFID II?

The implementation of MiFID II is approaching quickly, so it’s important that you know who is affected and how to make sure your business is compliant.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) regulates firms who provide services linked to ‘financial instruments’. This includes IFAs, mortgage brokers, credit institutions, corporate finance companies, investment firms and brokers/dealers.

MiFID has been applicable in the UK since 2007, but is now being revised to strengthen investor protection. The 3rd January 2018 will see MiFID II set in. The following must be recorded by financial service companies if they relate to an actual or possible transaction:

  • Telephone calls
  • Electronic communications
  • Face-to-face meetings

Records for these must be kept for 5 years (in some cases 7 years) or for the duration of the client relationship.

Commodities companies that were originally left outside the first MiFID will now be covered. This also applies to insurance brokers who take cover products with an ‘investment element’.

Customers who are affected by MiFID II may need to upgrade their telecoms systems to support recording of fixed and mobile calls. Affected firms have a number of options, depending on their existing set-up:

Landlines/SIP

Landlines – no system

You can now record phone calls via cloud-based providers. If firms choose this option, they may need to consider switching to an FCA-compliant VoIP provider, as it is the most cost-effective choice.

Phone system with landlines or SIP

  • Firms can add an on-premise call recorder. Some SIP providers offer cloud recording. But, firms would need to make sure that it’s FCA compliant and check storage costs.

VoIP/Skype for business

  • Firms will have to ask their supplier for written confirmation from their legal/operational teams that the call recordings are FCA-compliant.
  • Many VoIP providers only use Wav files and don’t offer FCA-compliant recordings. Firms will need to find out how long calls are stored for and the costs.

Mobiles

Mobiles are slightly more difficult. This is especially the case if the firm’s employees use SMS. There are still a number of options available.

  • Firms can ban mobiles. It’s a simple solution but it reduces productivity.
  • Mobile clients could be added. All recordings would be in one place, but SMS would not be recorded.
  • Firms could switch to recordable sims. This would allow the recording of calls and SMS. However, it would mean being out of contract on their current mobiles.

Financial services firms will have to make sure they assess how they are affected by MiFID II. This will also need to examine how they can comply with new regulations. But, suppliers will have to make sure they are meeting the new needs of affected customers.

 

Four ways to really annoy your customers

How Easy Is it For Your Customers to Contact You

Different groups of people prefer different communication methods. Yet so many companies focus on the cost to them rather than convenience for the customer. They forget that making it difficult for a customer to contact you will probably mean they contact the competition instead. For those companies that expect their customers to call them, here are some common mistakes that will almost certainly put off prospects. It could even prevent them from doing business with you. These are the ways to really annoy your customers.

0844 or 0871 numbers:

People are becoming aware that companies using these numbers make a profit on every call they receive – even a sales call. There is a useful website that lists many alternative numbers. Ofcom has a clear calling policy. Companies using these numbers must display the cost of calling them in close proximity to the number, wherever it is displayed. Unfortunately, to date, they have been slow to enforce this.

Choose from the following options:

Companies using “press one for…” options to route calls to various departments may not be aware that this often prompts customers to abandon the call altogether. Even if they stay on the line, they’ll be irritated at having to listen to a number of options. Especially when an automated message eventually tells them to go to the website. How much simpler to speak to someone and say: “can I talk to someone about…”.

Too much information:

No-one likes systems that prompt users to enter their account code or customer number before they talk to anyone and then, having eventually got through to someone, the first thing they are asked is: “can I have your account number?”.

Talk is cheap:

Most irritating of all are the businesses that spend a lot of money playing comforting messages. The messages stress how important your call is to them. If it were that important why not hire more people to answer calls?

A great way to test your system is to pretend to be a customer and contact your own company through different channels – was it a good experience for you? If not, put some thought into how you can improve the experience. If you don’t then your customers could end up contacting your competitors.