W&F Issue 1 2018

www.wealthandfinance-news.com 24 Wealth & Finance International - Issue 1 2018 Established in 1996, I-FACT draws on John’s vast experience in the industry, working with insurance companies and supporting them through their compliance with the Foster Green papers, which evolved into becoming the first Financial Services Act 1964. John explores how both the industry and his firm have evolved since then and how I-FACT’s commitment to meeting its clients’ needs has helped it to flourish. “Back when I first started I-FACT, there were nine different regulators with a vast array of mnemonics describing each of them. As the insurance companies we had been working with were each developing their own compliance teams, I moved on to the next market sector demonstrating demand which was Independent Financial Advisers. That is where I created my company’s name from; ‘Independent Financial Advisers Compliance and Training’ (I-FACT). “Regulation as stipulated by LAUTRO was all about training and competence, and as such when our company started we first began by printing Training & Competence(T&C) manuals, which were mandatory for all firms. This then developed into a full-service compliance consultancy focusing on IFAs and working with insurance institutions that wished to support IFAs. Within the first few weeks I was approached by another consultant who wanted to be in this market and she joined me from that point onwards and the company grew quite quickly. Fortunately, the company has never needed to seek recruits as recruits always manage to find us and, if suitable, complement and share in our culture and that is how the company developed.” Today, the firm offers even more services and has grown into an innovative consultancy which I-FACT Limited is an experienced team of specialised regulatory consultants who provide customised solutions to meet the needs of firms authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We caught up with Founder and Director John Derry-Collins to find out more about the firm, which has been named Best Specialised Regulatory Consultants – UK as part of our overview of the UK Best in Business. Providing Regulatory Excellence in the Financial Industry remains at the forefront of emerging market developments, as John discusses. “As the networks for IFA’s grew ever larger, we delivered service to these networks by providing them initially with T&C manuals, then compliance manuals. We also delivered education and training courses under the banner of these networks and also built up a healthy client bank of IFAs. We then moved into the service area of getting intermediaries authorised by the Regulator. This is still a major part of our workload. “Later, as the industry evolved over time and IFAs decreased in number, regulation continued to spread to other sectors. A major move for us was when the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD) was consulted upon. We were engaged by major players in the motor industry to authorise, educate and train all their main dealers, which kept us busy for a further two years. Staff numbers increased to over 40 at the time two major insurance companies challenged us to offer information and advice about authorisation assistance to 800 or more of their main brokers. In terms of activity and turnover, this was by far our busiest period and one of the software companies that wished to supply services to the industry engaged us for a short period of time, liked what we did and then made an irresistible offer to purchase. We successfully worked our way through the two year buy-out period, hitting all the right numbers, sold the company and I attempted retirement. It only lasted three weeks, as I missed the cut and thrust of being involved in regulatory consultancy and, as the buyers breached some warranties, I took the company back including consultants and intellectual property rights but decided to run it much more as a lifestyle company. “Since that date we have steered well clear of the motor industry and focus very much on areas where legislation is spreading, so we like to think of ourselves as being at the cutting edge of regulation. Currently, we are working a great deal with P2P platforms and Money Service Businesses (MSBs), as one of our Directors is a Payment Specialist, while maintaining our client bank of Wealth Managers and IFAs. We are particularly happy when long-term clients come back to us, offering a fresh challenge when they wish to vary permissions or are moving to a new market area.” Moving forward, there are many more developments within the financial services industry which look set to give I-FACT even more opportunities to grow and succeed, as John proudly concludes. “Ultimately, for all consultancies, BREXIT is very good news as, whenever there is change, consultants can help firms embrace change. European legislation will be with us for many years to come, but this will soon be evolving into transitional arrangements and following completion of BREXIT our own legislation will be extremely similar, or indeed equivalent to EU regulation so there will be a great deal of work for consultants to do in interpreting an even more complicated regulatory structure. These are exciting times for firms such as I-FACT and we are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store.” “...we are working a great deal with P2P platforms and Money Service Businesses...”

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