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Phil Wickenden: Reasons to be cheerful on GDPR

Phil WickendenOne week out from implementation, our research shows only around half of advisers are 100 per cent confident they are ready for the General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR represents the biggest ever change to how personal data is collected and handled. The fundamentals are quite simple: to give individuals more control over how their personal data is gathered and stored by businesses.

Lack of readiness is likely due to a failure by firms to understand their exposure to the regulation, as well as Mifid II’s earlier deadline, leaving GDPR to fall down the priority list.

In the two years since the EU’s GDPR work started, much of the focus has been on compliance and how to avoid the potentially crippling fees for falling foul.

But as much of a headache as the requirements are from a process perspective, there are reasons to be cheerful. Indeed, relatively little has been written about the opportunities it represents for the future of financial services. Take the following examples:

  • Improved data quality;
  • The ability to have a single view of a customer across data sources;
  • Better engagement;
  • Trust

In much the same way as the RDR made mandatory some fairly sound business fundamentals, the EU has decided to write the basic principles of permission-based marketing into law.

Are advisers GDPR ready?

So, we all have a decision to make. We can either tick the box and be compliant, finding ways to use fine print and digital manoeuvres to get the same sort of low-grade tolerance and low impact mass marketing has mostly delivered. Or we can choose to fully embrace the principles of the new regulations and realise it is actually rather good news for anyone looking for genuine engagement.

Simply put: the noise will go down and trust will go up. Recognising this and running with it will help firms avoid the hit and run, low-yield spam that some marketers have backed themselves into.

Talking to people who want to be talked to is an eminently sensible strategy. Marketing to people who want to be marketed to is far more likely to yield a positive return on investment, because anticipated, personal and relevant messages will always outperform spam.

The EU is responding to consumers who feel ripped off; tired of having their data strip-mined and their attention stolen. But it does not have to just be consumers who benefit.

Phil Wickenden is managing director of Cicero Research



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There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. There are not good outcomes to this. The present ‘problems’ could easily have been resolved on a default basis without needing an oppressive and very costly hammer. The costs to us – let alone charities and other organisations of having to have to satisfy the requirements are ludicrous.

    In due time it will also become clear that this will be to fraudsters and criminals’ advantage – from Windrush data being sifted and destroyed as it is ‘politically correct’ to dispense with old data to claims against advisers who’ll have inadequate data to protect themselves several years down the line.

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