Keeping up with regulation
Employees of the financial sector are under several forms of pressure, both from management practices and from requirements stemming from regulation. Last year, NFU published a report on the effects of performance measurements systems on employees. This year, NFU has conducted a survey investigating the latter, namely how regulatory requirements effect the work and well-being of employees in the Nordic financial sector.
The result shows us that the effects of the requirements are plentiful, but not necessarily always what the regulators might have intended.
Firstly, the 215 shop stewards who have answered the Nordic-wide survey paint a picture of increasing pressure in the financial sector. Employees’ workload and level of stress have grown due to an increasing amount of regulatory requirements on documentation, information to customers and customer knowledge (KYC). The main reasons seem to be a combination of lack of time, pressure from management as-well as the sheer amount and complexity of the requirements. The new regulatory requirements have evidently just been piled on top of everything else employees have to do, such as meeting with customers and remain up to date on market developments.
Secondly, the result actualizes the question if the regulation really improves the quality of advice and customers’ understanding of financial products – two of the regulators’ main objectives. If advisors do not have sufficient time and resources to really advice customers on financial products because the main part of the meeting needs to be spent on documentation – do the customers really benefit from the requirements? The respondents in our survey are not completely sure; some think that the requirements might improve the quality of advice and customers understanding of financial products to some extent, while an equal part thinks the opposite.
Lastly, it becomes evident from the result that employees of the Nordic financial sector are struggling to keep up with regulatory requirements, sales and performance targets and customer demands. Regulators and management need to comprehend that it is the employees of the financial sector who carry out in practice much of what is set out in the regulations. A better balance and clear priorities are needed if employees are to be given a sound opportunity to provide customers with the best possible financial advice.
Stay tuned for the publication of the report in the beginning of 2018. The result will also be presented at a NFU seminar in Brussels, January 31.