About Douglas Martin Associates
Compliance consultancy is an activity in which information is exchanged and analysed in order to facilitate the fulfilment of regulatory demands. Douglas Martin Associates views this process as a meeting of minds to reach a bespoke, cost effective solution which fits your particular business needs.
What is our approach?
Douglas Martin Associates sees the key to effective consultancy as that of listening to, and taking into account your unique requirements and issues, as opposed to merely applying a standard 'fits-all' template. Part of this cost-effective approach is a review of your existing business resources, and where possible and practical, the exploitation of these in the most efficient manner. For example, existing systems may be modified and staff trained in order to meet regulatory requirements economically. Thus you are provided with the tools to become self-sufficient. If, however, such resources cannot be sustained in-house, Douglas Martin Associates can provide the necessary service.
Whatever your business needs, Douglas Martin Associates will provide you with flexible resources and access to the knowledge and service of experienced consultants. Ultimately, you retain control, whilst recommendations, solutions and resources are provided so that you can concentrate upon the focus of your business.
Before appointing a compliance consultant
Although the FSA cannot recommend or promote the services of any particular compliance consultant, they have provided on their website a number of questions and issues you might wish to consider prior to appointing a compliance consultant to assist your firm.
The following are these FSA’s questions and an indication of how you can choose Douglas Martin Associates with confidence.
1. Experience and qualifications of the consultant
1.1 Do they have the necessary experience to assist you and your type of firm?
I have been working in the financial services since 1985 and directly in compliance, training since 1990. My specialist area is supporting small to medium size advisory firms with ‘hands on’ regulatory advice and support.
1.2 What are their qualifications?
FPC, CeMap, CeRGI, CeRER, H15, Certificate in Training & Development IPD
1.3 What is their financial services experience?
I have over 24 years experience in financial services. Prior to setting up Douglas Martin Associates I was the Compliance & Training Director, running a compliance team supporting 80 advisers. My CV’s providing you with full details of my experience can be provided on request.
1.4 What is their regulatory experience?
I have worked under, FIMBRA, PIA, MCCB and FSA regulators. I have also worked on several projects on behalf of the FSA
1.5 How do they keep up to date with regulatory and product changes?
Through ongoing monitoring of FSA, and other legislative communications. A monthly bulletin for clients is produced directing them to the issues that affect their business.
Douglas Martin Associates is part of an ‘association’ of other like minded Compliance Consultants within the Yorkshire area. We have regular meetings in order to swap ideas and discuss/share regulatory information through our attendance at FSA training seminars and other trade body events. Various linked websites such as ABI, BIBA, CML, & JMLSG etc are scanned on an ongoing basis to identify any regulatory changes etc.
You can be assured that we have access to all the necessary resources available in order to provide a quality of technical information and support that enables us to punch above our weight whilst at the same time offering a competitively priced service without the overheads of larger organisations.
1.6 Which associations or trade bodies are they members of?
- Association of Professional Compliance Consultants – APCC
- Society of Mortgage Professionals – Cert CII (MP)
- The Personal Finance Society – Cert PFS
- Institute of Financial Services – IFS
2. Services provided by the consultant
2.1 What type and level of service do you need?
We provide tailored service packages to address client requirements. 95% of our clients take a ‘hands-on’ package which we believe provides the most effective means of controlling and monitoring. We are not a ‘report and run’ consultancy because we will work with you to design and implement solutions
2.2 Have you asked for, and will you enter into, a service level agreement (SLA)?
We insist on clients signing a service level agreement which clearly sets out what service clients are getting and to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
2.3 Have you ensured that the SLA details the work that will be undertaken?
The service contract, agreed before signing the SLA, details what work will be undertaken.
2.4 Will you and the consultant ensure that the SLA is reviewed and remains 'fit for purpose'?
At the beginning of each on site visit the work to be completed is agreed. After the visit clients are provided with a progress report on actions completed and listing any outstanding items and who is responsible for them.
2.5 What are their charges?
This is very much dependant on client requirements and circumstances but you will find all charges are sensible and realistic. I am happy to work on an hourly rate, flat fixed fee or monthly service contract. The choice is yours and is not linked to your turnover which means you can budget your compliance costs.
2.6 How many firms does the consultant work for?
This varies considerably, depending on client requirements, but we make sure that we have more than adequate time, resource and support to meet all client requirements.
2.7 Do they have sufficient resources or might they be overstretched?
We have sufficient resources to deal with any work we choose to accept and have access to other qualified and experienced consultants where required. We provide a bespoke service and are not looking to grow into large business that loses focus and quality.
2.8 What are their back-up arrangements for holidays etc?
Clear provisions are made with all clients to cover holiday periods and I have access to consultants to provide cover should the need arise.
3.1 Have you reviewed their professional integrity, reputation, skills and competence?
Please speak to any of our clients to assess this. We do not offer quick fix compliance solutions or false promises. Our aim it support our clients and their drive to be successful, ensuring that all regulatory standards are met in a manner which enhances, rather than hinders the way in which they work.
3.2 Have you asked for a list of clients and taken references?
These can be provided on request
3.3 Have you compared them to any other consultants?
The important thing is to find a consultancy that meets your personal needs and does not treat you as a number. Many firms offer online support, template documents and compliance manuals but in our experience clients want more than this. They value the onsite visits and the chance to discuss and resolve issues face to face with compliance professional we treat our clients as individuals and meet their needs not our own.
3.4 Do they / will they add value?
Please ask our clients. Ultimately you must be the judge of what we or any other firm offer. Because we are confident in our service we do not hold you to a long term contract. If you genuinely felt that you were not receiving value for money or were unhappy with any aspects of our service you can easily walk away.
Since engaging our services all our clients have remained with us which we think is a good indication of the level of trust and satisfaction clients have with Douglas Martin Associates
3.5 Has any regulated firm they have worked for ever been subject to any action by the FSA?
3.6 Does the consultant have Professional Indemnity Insurance and is it sufficient?
Yes. Douglas Martin Associates has held PI Insurance since 2005 with cover up to £500,000 in the aggregate. To date, we have never received a complaint and have never made a claim.