One of the most critical pieces of software for any modern operation is its Compliance Management System (CMS). A CMS helps heavily regulated industries keep tabs on the current legal situation, ensure compliance with regulations, and be able to produce all relevant reports needed to demonstrate compliance.
As one of the most regulated industries on Earth, the financial industry needs CMS systems they can rely on. Their financial services compliance software must be able to stand up to scrutiny from major governments, while still helping businesses optimize earnings in every quarter. Which financial services compliance software is best? It’s down to looking for key features that every financial CMS should have.
Ease of Use
Your workers are trainedin financial matters, not computers and programming. Any CMS must be designed with non-technical users in mind, with a streamlined interface that can be quickly learned with a minimum of retraining.
Across the board, it should seek to make it easier to do business. If you’re ever working with a CMS and think “It would be just as easy to do this myself” then that CMS is not doing its job properly.
Regulations and Features Tailored to Your Institution
Financial services compliance software should not be treated as an “out of the box” solution. Every niche in the financial industry has its own regulations, and different operations may be covered under various sets of regulations. So, a financial CMS must be set up specifically for your needs.
Any good CMS is customizable, but in the case of financial CMSs, it’s best to be proactive. Go into the purchase with a good understanding of the regulations your financial institution falls under and look for a CMS which can be easily adapted to those specific needs.
In short, you should never be asked to adapt your needs to what the CMS can do. You need plenty of flexibility.
Frequent Updates on New and Proposed Rules
In the financial industry, you need to keep an eye on your regulatory future. A great financial CMS will be able to provide alerts and advice on proposed rules changes to come, as well as providing information on the progress of those rules changes.
Otherwise, future planning becomes far more difficult. If your operation is looking to introduce a new product or service, your CMS should be able to let you know whether any future rules could disrupt that launch.
In addition, rules changes often have a period that is open for public comments from affected businesses. Your financial CMS should give you plenty of warning to prepare your own comments and suggestions while providing hard data to back up your arguments.
Properly Recording and Reporting on Compliance Activity
It’s not just enough to follow compliance regulations – you need to be able to prove to regulators that you’re staying within the rules. So, it’s critical that your financial services compliance software be able to produce detailed and accurate reports that document all your compliance activity.
This should include the activities themselves, as well as documentation of the major actors and the decision-making process. This, too, can help you avoid trouble. Should a regulation have questionable wording or edge cases that don’t seem fully covered, this documentation can demonstrate good faith behavior as you attempt to reconcile the regulations with the reality of your operation.
Facilitating Communication Between Departments
Compliance activity isn’t confined to a single department or division. It’s typically a business-wide effort that may require coordination between numerous groups. So, your financial CMS should be able to support a wide range of users across many departments or locations, while providing accurate information-sharing to everyone.
In addition, it should provide the best platform for communicating policy changes across the organization. If a regulation is changing, you need to be able to inform everyone affected as quickly as possible, so they can adjust to fit. Without global communication features, it becomes far more difficult to keep everyone on the same page, especially across multiple locations.
This should also include robust document storage and retrieval, gated according to access permissions. Often, one of the best services a financial CMS can provide is ensuring workers can always quickly find a particular document they need.
In short, your financial services compliance software needs to be robust, customizable, and easy for workers across your operation to access and use. Choosing a financial CMS should not be done quickly. The more time you spend thinking about your own operation, needs, and relevant regulations, the easier it will be to find a CMS which can support you for years to come.