• Financial Services Advisory

Financial Services Advisory

As the market and regulatory demands continue to increase for financial services firms, we provide the bespoke advice and proactive services needed to help our clients succeed. If you would like more information on our Governance, Risk, Regulatory and Internal Audit services, or to discuss a particular issue, please contact us.
 

Our services

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Getting value through compliance

The application of an effective three lines of defence framework and development of a robust corporate governance structure are the foundations of running a sustainable financial services business. These need to be complemented by continued compliance with emerging regulations, and management of capital and liquidity – each of these components is vital to the continued success of financial services businesses.

Not only must firms they ensure have appropriate systems and controls to manage and mitigate risks in their businesses (and in so doing avoid reputational damage and minimise potential regulatory intervention), firms must also find ways to derive real value from the changes they have to implement as the cost of compliance continues to rise. 

Our Financial Services Advisory team provides consultative problem solving together with core regulatory, governance, internal audit, risk management and resourcing services to meet the needs of your business. Our team combines skills and experience from industry and regulatory backgrounds, enabling us to provide robust and proportionate advice to our clients. We strive to be a trusted adviser who can be relied upon to add value, provide ideas and to challenge and deliver a service which will contribute to your business’ success.

 

How we can help

Regulatory compliance

As the regulatory burden continues to increase and becomes ever more complex, it is essential for financial services firms to appoint advisers who not only have a deep understanding of the regulatory environment, but also tailor their advice to the specific needs of the client. Our Regulatory Consulting team work in close partnership with our clients, obtaining a deep understanding of their business and the specific environment they operate in. We act as a strategic partner, providing clear advice which is both balanced and constructive. 

Given the backdrop of regulatory change, we can help you respond to emerging regulation, building on our broad experience of working with banks, insurers, asset and wealth managers and other regulated businesses. We provide advice on regulatory change and implementation projects including on the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SMCR), PSD II and prudential regulatory requirements (including ICAAPs & ILAAPs). Our experience also ranges from undertaking Skilled Person Reviews, to providing applications and authorisation support, to supporting clients with our retained regulatory service.

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Economic Crime Advisory 

Serious and organised crime is estimated to cost the UK at least £37 billion each year. It is perpetuated by the ability to abuse the financial system and launder illicit money. Supervisory Authorities’ and regulators have introduced a number of relevant regulations including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, sanctions evasion and market abuse prevention.

The requirements placed on firms are numerous and expert judgement is required to design and implement effective and proportional frameworks in response. These frameworks must be robust enough to withstand regulator and public scrutiny and minimise the risk of penalties or reputational damage. A successful framework is one that is monitored and assessed on a regular basis.     

You can rely on our Economic Crime Advisory team to provide tailored, and value added support based on our extensive experience of assessing, enhancing, remediating and optimising anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions, fraud, anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) and market abuse frameworks. You will benefit from our understanding of your needs, the legal and supervisory requirements and how risks should be effectively managed and mitigated. Each client and engagement is unique, and we tailor our advice and services to meet your needs.

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Resource augmentation and managed projects

Firms are often under pressure in front line operations, this can be as a result of unexpected increases in customer demand or remediation programmes. BDO Regulatory Solutions provide access to skilled and experienced resource on an interim basis. This means you can respond quickly to change with the people you need when you need them; while saving the cost and time involved in recruiting and managing. 

Whether you need a single subject matter expert or a fully managed team of case handlers, we have a large network across a range of disciplines to meet your requirements. To assure you of high standards, we employ bona-fide, experienced associates who are used to operating in environments like yours. Our project management expertise also means we can provide a fully managed service, from design and implementation through to ensuring a high-level of operational performance.

With core strengths in remediation & review, complaints management and outcome testing, we work with you to fulfil your regulatory responsibilities, balance the operational constraints you are working within, while keeping a sharp eye on customer outcomes. 

We have partnered with many of the largest firms in Banking, Insurance, Pensions and Wealth Management. Our mid-market clients have also benefitted from collaborating with us, where we have assured them of the same high standards and best practices as we do for larger firms.

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Economic Crime Advisory

Serious and organised crime is estimated to cost the UK at least £37 billion each year. It is perpetuated by the ability to abuse the financial system and launder illicit money. Supervisory Authorities’ and regulators have introduced a number of relevant regulations including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, sanctions evasion and market abuse prevention.

The requirements placed on firms are numerous and expert judgement is required to design and implement effective and proportional frameworks in response. These frameworks must be robust enough to withstand regulator and public scrutiny and minimise the risk of penalties or reputational damage. A successful framework is one that is monitored and assessed on a regular basis.     

You can rely on our Economic Crime Advisory team to provide tailored, and value added support based on our extensive experience of assessing, enhancing, remediating and optimising anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions, fraud, anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) and market abuse frameworks. You will benefit from our understanding of your needs, the legal and supervisory requirements and how risks should be effectively managed and mitigated. Each client and engagement is unique, and we tailor our advice and services to meet your needs.

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Skilled Persons Reviews

Section 166 of the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 gives the FCA & PRA the power to commission an independent review into certain areas of a firm’s activities that cause concern or where they deem that further analysis is required. These are commonly referred to as Skilled Person Reports, and they have become an important supervisory tool which is frequently utilised by the FCA.

Should your firm become subject to a Skilled Person Review, BDO has been appointed to the Panel in respect of Skilled Person Lots A to J, and our team has the experience and capability to undertake the review to a high standard. We can also provide expertise and support when firms are being requested by the regulator to take voluntary action in respect of a firm’s core business areas or critical support functions (including VREQs). Find out more about how we can help here

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Authorisations

Depending on specific business models, nearly all firms operating within the financial sector will need to gain some form of regulatory approval. Often this will mean that prior to commencement of commercial activities a firm will need to gain authorisation from the FCA and/or PRA as a regulated entity. Similarly, as your business grows, and regulatory requirements evolve, your business, or a part of it may subsequently fall within the regulatory perimeter, whereby further regulatory permissions may need to be obtained for your firm to remain authorised to conduct its business activities.

From banking authorisations to assisting fintech start-ups or launching a new fund, our Authorisations team provides tailored assistance with regulatory applications, as well as applications for approval of individuals, variations of permission, changes in controller and waivers. We will work with you to build the application pack, all associated forms and relevant documents and can help with any Regulator queries.

We can do as little or as much as you require in this process. Some clients come to us with a business idea and we help develop this into an efficient structure, business plan and application pack. Others will complete the application pack themselves and we will simply review and provide recommendations prior to submission. Many of our clients will be somewhere in between these points, but whatever level of assistance is required from us, you are guaranteed support throughout the application process.

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Regulatory reporting & outsourcing

Our team of specialist regulatory accountants can assist you with the preparation of regulatory returns and accounting function. This service allows you to focus on managing your business knowing that you are outsourcing part, or all, of your regulatory reporting and accounting function to a team who is familiar with the sector and regulations in which you operate.

Our assistance can be tailored to your needs, however, examples of our services include:

  • providing calculations of regulatory requirements within management reporting packs to allow ongoing compliance monitoring;
  • assistance with completion of financial regulatory reports and supporting calculations required under BIPRU and IPRU (INV) for submission via Gabriel;
  • for those firms required to report under Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV and in the future CRD V & CRD for Investment Firms) and therefore, subject to Common Reporting (COREP), we can complete the regulatory returns and the supporting calculations, provide a review of returns and supporting calculations or simply convert the returns into the XBRL reporting format required for submission to the FCA via Gabriel.

If you are confident in preparing your own regulatory returns and have an in-house finance function, we also offer a ‘healthcheck’ review of your regulatory returns in which we review the regulatory returns you previously submitted and provide a report of our findings. This can provide you with some reassurance that you have interpreted and applied the rules as specified by the regulator.

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Internal audit

As part of good governance and in maintaining the three lines of defence, internal audit provides assurance to management and boards that systems and controls are in place and that the controls in place mitigate the risks businesses face. 

Our FS Internal Audit team can support you either on an outsourced or co-sourced basis. In a co-sourced relationship, we provide skilled and experienced audit resources, where we can enhance the skills and experience of the in-house team. Or we can provide a fully outsourced service where we can integrate seamlessly into your organisation and provide a first class internal audit service, reporting to the Chair of the Audit Committee.

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Governance 

Both the FCA and PRA have made it clear that governance is high on their agenda and this has been demonstrated by recent supervision activity, through Skilled Persons Reviews and through enforcement activity. The introduction of the SMCR to solo regulated firms heightens this focus and gives rise to a whole new set of standards firms must comply with throughout 2019. Our aim is to leverage our expertise and sector knowledge to help organisations meet their governance and assurance objectives.

We provide ongoing and discrete support, helping you to establish and maintain the corporate governance frameworks and processes including governance reviews and healthchecks, SMCR advice and Board Effectiveness Reviews. 

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Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Climate Change 

Climate-related risk is the largest long-term threat to financial systems. Every company will need to assess and manage the physical, regulatory and market risks arising from climate change and environmental degradation in order to avoid or minimise potential losses.

The relevance of ESG risk management is fast evolving into a strategic business consideration for Boards. Boards with a clear strategic approach to handling impacts and opportunities and supported by the appropriate arrangements, will both gain a competitive advantage and mitigate their climate-related risks.

Companies that appropriately address social and environmental factors will create opportunities for long-term value creation. Diversity and Inclusion, executive pay and transparency, human capital, health and other material ESG aspects should form a key part of any robust business strategy and governance framework.

How we can improve your position on ESG

Wherever you are in the process of developing your ESG and climate change strategy, we can help you. Our ESG team is already providing specialist regulatory advice to clients on conduct, reporting and prudential regulation. For example, we are in the process of conducting multiple assurance reviews over the extent to which the ESG and climate risk arrangements and disclosure plans would satisfy regulatory expectations. We also provide assurance engagement in accordance with ISAE 3000 and ISAE 3410 to report the energy usage and carbon emissions in the UK and internationally.

You can choose to what extent and in what form you need our support in developing your response to the ESG agenda.

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Our Financial Services Advisory team aim to provide constructive advice, effective and valuable assurance to help you navigate an environment where there is continuous regulatory change. If you would like more information on our services, or to discuss a particular issue, please contact us

Insights and updates

Explore our insights, updates and latest thinking below.