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Simply The Best!
Making Compliance Work
Experience and Professionalism
When it comes to financial regulatory compliance, you don’t simply have to be right; you have to record it in the right way.
At Compliance Consultant we know and appreciate the need for good governance, best practice adoption and delivering coherent strategies for our clients in the complex and fluid world of financial regulation.
So It’s Another Compliance Consultancy?
Yes, but no. Let me tell you why I set up Compliance Consultant.
“I firmly believe that at the intersection of regulatory requirements, consumer rights, commercial viability and a social conscience there can be a great deal of good created for any synergistic relationship and the best alternatives are derived from understanding, competence, accuracy and honesty, combined with effective strategy.”
Identification Of The Problem.
I joined the UK financial services industry on 4th July 1988 – the day the first Financial Services Act came into force. I joined as a life and pensions sales person and spent the next 13 years learning the trade and transitioning to operating my own Independent Financial Adviser brokerage. In 2000 I closed all that down and moved into Compliance work, on the strength of the pensions and burgeoning endowment review – but was only destined to do that type of work for a short time.
Whilst working in that field, I and many colleagues “white labelled” our services for many organisations including the “Big 4” Consultancies. Many of the projects were run by the skin of their teeth and most “Managers” made it up as they went along.
I moved into process analysis and redesign, which eventually lead me into working with large organisations, banks and the like. It was here I saw how the big companies in consulting made their money – often with very little effort as the big organisations were held to ransom by their shareholders who insisted on big names acting as advisers.
The typical scenario would be that a partner and couple of senior managers make the presentation with a deck of slides cobbled together from numerous other presentations, with very little actual care about the new client’s needs or desires. This was based on the fact that the “Big 4” firm had seen it all and new what the answers were before the clients new what the challenges actually were.
Bamboozled or sometimes “wined and dined” into accepting the (rather woolly) proposition the company then lay themselves open to the “Land grab”. The Partner would attend early meetings and offer to “help out” or “provide assistance” in this stream or strand of work or another. This would then open up the flood gates and before long the “client” was being charged for a Partner, Senior Managers, Junior Managers, Project Managers, Programme Managers and a bus load of newly qualified graduates who knew only the bare bones of regulation and compliance, but could draw pretty pictures on presentation slides. I have even known the firms make a loss on the initial work, just to feather their nests with the “Land grab” work obtained in the process of setting up.
The Partner was rarely seen again and the Senior Managers were seldom available as they were “delayed” with another client” or another “meeting ran over” and the rest of the team, to save face, started to make disjointed decisions and the strands ended up like an elastic band ball. This created so many dependencies on the consultancy, the jargon and “consultant speak” kep tthe client at bay while he paid out figures up to £20K per day for work that I could see would be done more efficiently by 4 or 5 professional, experienced and qualified consultants for around 25% of the cost – and it would be done quicker!
As I mentioned before, the big companies had to employ these “Big 4” because of their shareholders expectations, and I knew that I was not going to compete against these monoliths so I wouldn’t even try.
However smaller companies, Limited companies and LLPs as well as sole traders and partnerships would be a different matter. Many of them would be looking for value, expertise and a good job, well done. So I started to look at what they needed, and what the regulator expected of them. When you are the new-boy in town, it is difficult to break into the “network” that the larger firms seem to keep closely guarded with their lunches, dinners, sponsored events and other “niceties”. However, the tide of regulation is relentless and the “corporate hospitality” is ever more frowned upon, and greater evidential due diligence to satiate the stakeholders was surging forward.
Per diem charging on interventions is a time honoured method of consultancy charging, and having seen companies held to ransom in this way made me consider other options.
But I wanted to shake things up and apply new ways of adding value, creating an excellent service and bringing transparency to an industry shrouded in myth and heresay.
Is this method really appropriate in the 21st Century?
Having a “Rate Card” of work seemed to me to be assuming that I new everything, the client new nothing and therefore I was superior and would “pigeon-hole” his needs to fit my rate card. That was not going to set me apart from anyone else or indeed endear me to anyone.
I set up CEI Compliance Limited (Later to morph into Compliance Consultant) to specifically leverage the associate model. The “Big 4” had many of their Senior Managers swimming around, even when there was no work for them to do. The end clients paid for this in the exorbitant prices charged for their work (and subsequent land grabs). I was firmly of the opinion that the client should only pay for the consultant working on THEIR work and not just because they were needed sometime on the project.
I therefore concluded that the client’s knew what problems they had, whether it was a S166 Skilled Person’s Report, a Risk Mitigation Program, Past Business Review, Additional Compliance Checking,a Compliance Audit or whatever they needed, and that may actually be tied in with other bespoke work. So it seemed to me that if I were to offer a fixed price for the work for defined and measurable outcomes, the time taken would be immaterial, as long as the outcomes were achieved, the client would not have an “Open Chequebook” situation. Now, as a small company I could not survive on any 90 day terms, so I worked on a minimum of 50% up-front and the remainder in a reasonable time.
The regulator obviously appreciated the work we had done and although we locked horns a couple of times, we maintained our integrity and kept to our value. They appointed me as a “Skilled Person” to conduct S166 Reports in 2012. This coupled with our flexibility and standard procedure of getting the right people with the right skill-sets for each project or intervention stood us in good stead and the model worked pretty well, with some major longer term work coming to fruition since 2011.
Now none of this was set in stone, so I always allow for a level of flexibility and to date that has served me well, whether setting up a new bank (2 to date), writing the governance for merging firms, authorisations, training, interpreting rules for software development and testing, writing specific manuals and policies (we sell many on our websites) but have created specific documents for payment services providers, crowdfunding platforms and others, as well as a plethora of other work in the regulated space. (see “Case Studies” for details)
So we have today built a moderately successful and personalised service in Compliance Consultant is a consultancy firm specialising in offering bespoke regulatory expertise to a discrete and select group of clients. At Compliance Consultant we make sure that quality takes precedent over quantity. Key to our success is the successful and long term development of close business relationships with our clients. Couple this with extensive qualified practitioner compliance experience as well as being able to offer regulatory insight and we are obviously ideally situated to assist all sizes of firms.
No matter what the issues may be from FCA authorisation to independent compliance reviews to ad-hoc rule interpretations to a total compliance outsourcing package, Compliance Consultant has the speed of reaction, the qualified and experienced resource as well as the flexibility and cost effective solutions that you need.
A great deal of our work is done under NDAs and we are happy to discuss your needs offering you full confidentiality, something that larger firms struggle to maintain. If you wish to use a Non-Disclosure Agreement of your own or ours (downloaded from HERE or below.) we can accommodate even the most demanding of requirements either in the UK, throughout Europe or the Middle East.
Working with financial services companies, helping to manage their compliance and other risks so they can control their exposure, train their staff, implement regulatory change and execute their strategy.
This then allows them to concentrate on their core business, become stronger through better governance, greater efficiency and increasing profitability.
TOB: You may need our Terms Of Business for any contractual work entered into. Work under 1 week requires upfront payment unless stated – Full details are HERE
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Meet The Team
Lee Werrell, Chartered FCSI MISM(Master)
Owner & Principal Consultant, CEO
Lee has nearly 30 years Financial Services Experience and much of that in governance, compliance and risk areas. He achieved the Diploma in Investment Compliance in 2006 and was one of the first members of the Securities & Investments Institute to be Chartered when they received their Royal Charter in 2010.
Having run previously successful companies since the 90’s he launched Compliance Consultant in early 2014 and was immediately involved in some long term highly confidential work.
Email Lee at email@example.com
Bob Sarund Chartered Marketer
Chief Marketing Officer
Bob has over 32 years marketing experience with almost 20 years’ financial services industry experience. He has a passion for helping to engage with their clients and prospects through their marketing communications activities, both inbound and outbound. His skills include marketing communications, content marketing and copywriting.
Bob has the responsibility of generating interest in Compliance Consultant.
Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Finance Officer
Andre Marcello FCCA
Chief Finance Officer
Andre has over 25 years of experience in Governance, Finance, Audit, Risk and Compliance and is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA).
Having worked in may roles within the city of London for a breadth of institutions, Andre brings a much needed experience of flexibility and sound planning to many interventions from both a professional and practitioner perspective.
Email Andre at email@example.com
Head of Administration
Melissa Cairns MBA
Head of Administration
Melissa has nearly 10 years experience in and much of that in a financial services compliance and risk role within consultancy and financial institution head office environments. Being organised and accurate with her details is key to our success.
With strong knowledge of governance, protocol and project management, as well as product lifestyle, Melissa supports the executive and operations team with great precision.
Email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org
QUALITY & VALUE
By leveraging in-depth industry experiences and sharing technical and operational knowledge Compliance Consultant creates and develops effective and pragmatic solutions in a collaborative environment.
Compliance Consultant takes time to listen to its clients and evaluate their particular requirements, before offering a number of strategic and tactical recommendations or proposals.
All of our recommendations and proposals are fact based.
Compliance Consultant’s implementation philosophy is underpinned by the following principles:
- Defining the business return on investment before implementation by demonstrating ‘value’;
- Driving process and organisation change early in parallel with infrastructure development; engage, execute, embed.
- Starting with sample department or areas, to test the processes and technology in real business situations, then apply scale to other or all areas as required;
- Compliantly gain momentum and then rapidly deploy solutions to the remainder of the organisation and provide support through to embedding
Our approach revolves around a simple idea:
Improving the client’s condition.
One of the fundamentals of our success is to utilise the existing talents and resources of the organisation to enhance client satisfaction and their business goals, by directing talents and resources outward, not inward.