The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has handed down new guidance for regulated business sectors over the risks involved with remote and hybrid work environments in a Monday (Oct. 11) press release.
The guidance from the watchdog agency indicates that companies will be held to the same compliance threshold and should have the ability to show that the lack of a centralized location or a remote work setup doesn’t have a negative effect on upholding regulated activities.
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Hybrid working — a combination of in-office and off-site — is being considered by many companies even as the pandemic eases. Commercial landlords and government officials, however, have pushed back against the trend.
Companies in the financial services space and other regulated industries will be subjected to evaluations on a case-by-case basis, the guidance indicates, and businesses must make sure that remote work doesn’t interfere with the supervision of the business at hand. Further, businesses are responsible for ensuring consumers won’t be harmed, the market’s integrity will be upheld and there won’t be an uptick in financial crime or a reduction in competition.
“The FCA is right to warn financial services firms about the risks associated with hybrid working, particularly around challenges such as regulatory requirements, data compliance and accountability,” Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of Zoho Europe, said in a statement emailed to PYMNTS.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced through many positive changes in terms of working practices, yet far too many companies still lack the training & assessment of personnel and the IT infrastructure and systems to ensure complete compliance,” he said.
Additional guidance included that companies engaging in hybrid work environments should have adequate plans, systems and IT functions in place, including considerations for any data, cyber and security risks.
“Moving forward, organizations seeking to build a truly safe and secure hybrid working culture must look towards operating systems that can offer key applications to manage everything, from collaboration and finance, to analytics and customer engagement,” added Iyengar. “This will bring a new level of safety and security to remote working, helping to keep companies compliant in line with FCA standards.”