Now that the FSA has announced its intention to make providers pass on compliance documentation relating to new business entirely electronically from the middle of next year, the industry has been left with yet more work to do as it readies itself for e-compliance.
Providers will need to consolidate data feeds running from multiple product databases into single feeds flowing to the FSA. They will also need to submit all electronic files in a format called XBRL, which is widely used elsewhere in e-Government circles but little deployed to date in financial services.
At the same time, security around movement of these documents will need to be beefed up to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands.
Therein lies one of our concerns as a managed security services provider to IFAs. All this is happening at the same time as key insurers are considering withdrawing funding for Origo's highly successful single-sign on authorisation and encryption system, Unipass. This leaves Origo with little option but to seek to transfer the cost on to reluctant IFA portals, which may instead revert to their own separate authentication systems.
But without an industry-agreed multi-factor security standard, compliance documentation travelling from the IFA community to the FSA via providers and IFA firms will not be as secure as it needs to be.
The FSA needs to recognise that electronic compliance and creation of a secure framework for doing electronic business cannot be mutually exclusive. They must be built in tandem. As such, could it do worse than ensuring Unipass's long-term future, now that life insurers have funded its birth and early-stage take-up so successfully?