Complying with the ICOB rules means documenting and justifying every recommendation, says Colin Rawlings
Despite the fact that your application for authorisation is safely deposited in Canary Wharf, sadly you can't take a compliance holiday. By applying for authorisation, you are committing yourself to make your firm fully compliant by 15 January 2005 - you may even be planning to achieve 'compliance' earlier than this to allow yourselves some time for testing.
The FSA's Insurance: Conduct of Business (ICOB) requirements are perhaps the most difficult for the compliance department. This is because brokers and other sales staff may have to change behaviour to ensure compliance - and changing behaviour is always a challenge.
The following are some of the issues presented by the ICOB rules:
None of the issues raised above is insurmountable, providing that careful planning is undertaken, and the requisite controls and documentation are produced.
There is, sadly, no substitute for working your way through the rules, identifying all those relevant to your business and whether you currently comply with them.
Procedures are required to ensure the ICOB rules are being met. For example, the justification of an advised placement might take into account the following:
Internal discussion and justification in this area should not be difficult providing it is undertaken sufficiently early. Firms should be able to demonstrate why they made the placement recommendation within the categories above, and justify their recommendation to the FSA and the client, who should be provided with a demands and needs statement.
It is no use just doing things appropriately; you need to be able to prove it too.