Industry backs new BSI standard for financial services compliance

Press release - 2 March 2011

The financial services industry has given its support to the publication of a new British Standard developed in response to calls for greater governance within the sector.  BS 8453 Compliance framework for regulated financial services firms is the first standard of its kind and will help firms to manage their regulatory risks. 

In the face of mounting pressure financial services companies need to clearly demonstrate to consumers that they are improving their governance and accountability procedures, BSI has developed BS 8453 in collaboration with a group of trade associations, industry practitioners and professional bodies to provide a set of agreed measures that will achieve a transparent compliance culture within a firm.

By implementing BS 8453 a senior manager will have peace of mind that their firm should be following good practice for compliance risk monitoring, reporting and training. The standard also includes advice on the design and frequency of reporting processes, and will allow firms to demonstrate that their compliance function is robust.

The standard can be used as a benchmarking tool by those working in compliance oversight functions, those with audit and assurance responsibilities within a firm, and external compliance consultants. Director of BSI Standards, Mike Low, says:  “Operating to the BS 8453 framework will embed the principles and processes that support effective compliance programmes. These can help firms to prevent compliance failures while developing a culture which better protects the interests of shareholders, investors and customers.”

The new voluntary standard fully complements existing FSA regulation and has been welcomed by the industry regulator. Sheila Nicoll, Director of Conduct Policy at the FSA, comments:  “The FSA recognizes the importance of an effective and well-managed compliance function at regulated firms. We welcome the publication by the BSI of this framework standard, which provides a valuable resource about the theory and practice of compliance.”

To ensure that the measures outlined in BS 8453 are applicable across the financial sector, the development of the standard was configured through detailed consultations and contributions from trade bodies including the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS), professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), as well as compliance specialists Thomson Reuters GRC (formerly Complinet) and PwC.

The new standard will be officially launched on the 8 March 2011 at the Hatton in Farringdon, London, UK.