Nicky Eilers, Assent Legal
Do you ever feel as though you are standing against a wall and having brick after brick after a brick was thrown at you like a dodge ball that just keeps coming? Just when you think it’s over, here comes another one.
So, with the Twin Peaks model now in place, our financial legislative landscape has evolved into one of the most sophisticated in the world. In order to ensure that we are able to attract foreign investments and to protect our own financial integrity, it is the necessary evil that we have to embrace.
Having said that, when you have the support of your dodgeball team, it’s easier to dodge a ball than if you are the only team member left and all the balls are aimed your way. As in dodgeball, so it is that when you are a large insurer, despite the multitude of legislation that gets flung at you, the company is able to implement the changes and the impact of those changes faster and easier, but when you are a smaller insurer, with a smaller operational, risk and compliance team, life looks very different and keeping track of all the changes and ensuring compliance with such changes becomes an overwhelming task.
Added to this, our new normal does not make things any easier. Issues such as keeping track of tasks, staying abreast of who is doing what and when is certainly one of the downfalls of a team of people working from home. And since this is our new normal, it has become a monster that needs to be caged.
Small companies are realizing the importance of information technology (IT) and are increasingly investing in their information systems, especially in the current environment where tech disruption is changing systems and innovative thinking is necessary in order for them to act as incubators for future economic giants. They are replacing their existing manual and legacy systems with new, more flexible innovations.
The problem brings to the fore yet more bricks in the wall.
First issue: Companies are implementing a different system for each process. This results in a myriad of unintegrated systems and that dodgeball being dropped on the ground.
Second issue: Majority of systems available are developed in foreign countries and therefore not compatible with the South African market.
Third Issue: If the system is foreign it is Dollar or Pounds based, increasing costs and with the fluctuating Rand, results in volatile and unpredictable costing.
Fourth Issue: You get what you get. Customization of systems is not only costly but also often, not possible. Systems are built according to a generic operation and do not make provision for the South African landscape.
Fifth Issue: And then to throw the proverbial spanner (or in this case a wrench) in the works, PPR sets out very specific requirements with regards to Complaints Management. Many companies currently try to juggle this framework by keeping a simple Excel Spreadsheet but this has proven to be cumbersome and inefficient to meet the requirements.
“If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball” – Patches O’Houlihan
The key to successful ‘ball dodging’ is a fully web-based business management platform that understands the market, and financial sector.
Financial institutions need one integrated home-grown system that can adapt to their needs, taking a holistic view of operations with systems that are streamlined and customised as one proudly South African solution.
In a Utopia, your business management system would have the capability to assist you in creating registers and keeping electronic records of matters that provide single button reporting and a reliable audit trail.
Ideally, such a system should have an easy user-friendly capability that allows creating tasks that can be assigned to members of the team, allowing for efficient communication across a single integrated platform with accountable real time reporting on the progression of team actions.
Risk management is an integral part of running any business and this is even more central in a regulated environment. With a business management platform, the ability to automate the risk register is more essential than ever, not only to ensure that the business meets all regulatory obligations but also to ensure that controls that have been implemented don’t just remain a paper exercise but are measurable and effective. This kind of automation further makes real time reporting a sinch making sure that compliance and operations are integrated and speaking the same language.
One of the most challenging Prudential requirements is the submission of an annual ORSA report. This report cannot quickly be constructed on a Friday afternoon, it requires a properly planned and structured annual project involving many parties internal and external to develop the ORSA report and record ready for submission on a specified date.
Assent’s Business Management Platform provides all these solutions for an affordable cohesive system with one interface for the business to increase efficiency, service with both qualitative and quantitative outputs. This automated system allows for the creation and recording of your Complaints Management process aligned with legislative requirements, supporting your compliance culture as well as Project Management, Governance and Risk Structures.
With so many changes to the world as we know it, time is of the essence for businesses to redefine traditional thinking and step into a world of fast, efficient real-time communication and reporting to ensure continuity in your business and define our new normal.