By Sara Lane.

What is the secret to successful marketing compliance? How can you make sure you keep on the right side of the regulator when it comes to financial promotions?

The answer might be simpler than you think.

It can often feel as if Marketing and Compliance teams are pulling in opposite directions.  In fact, you have the same aim. Effective marketing that promotes your firm in a way that complies with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidelines.

So how can Compliance and Marketing teams work together to achieve this? What can they do to understand each other better, and make the financial promotions process an easier one? Having worked in marketing with a range of regulated businesses, I have picked up a few tips. Here are my strategies for success.

  1. Respect your differences

Generally speaking, the compliance and marketing roles are likely to attract very different personality types. Compliance is more likely to be made up of people who are methodical and focused on attention to detail. Marketers are typically creative, extravert, and often seen as willing to forego detail issues in favour of the big picture.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the two can approach financial promotions from very different perspectives. Appreciating and respecting your different approaches is an essential first step.

  1. Understand each other’s objectives

Marketing is tasked with raising awareness of your firm and – ultimately – delivering leads that will drive sales. Compliance’s role is to make sure the business doesn’t attract the regulator’s attention for the wrong reasons.

If you work in Marketing, keeping the Compliance team’s objectives in mind when you’re writing will help. It should mean your content needs minimal changes to make sure it complies with FCA guidelines. Similarly, a Compliance team that appreciates Marketing’s aims will understand why they need to stress the positives when it comes to your products and services.

If both teams view the financial promotions process from the other’s perspective, they will have a better chance of working together in harmony to produce an end result that works for both Compliance and Marketing.

  1. Work together from the start

 All too often, Compliance teams see financial promotions when they are pretty much a ‘done deal’.  Marketing has drafted something…the business has (eventually!) signed it off – and then compliance takes a look.  It can then be very painful and time-consuming to go back round the loop of business review/approval if Compliance makes significant changes.

In some ways it makes sense to leave Compliance sign off until last – it means the Compliance team is seeing the final version, rather than having to spend time reviewing various iterations of a document.

But in other ways, it’s not ideal. If a promotion is way off the mark in terms of regulatory compliance, it is much better to identify this early on, so that changes can be made before the business is asked to review.

Getting Compliance involved as early as possible can be really helpful.  If you’re in Marketing, run your ideas past compliance at the earliest opportunity. That way, if your planned approach is never going to work, you’ll find out before you’ve invested too much time and creative energy.

Making sure you’re on the right track early on in the project can save everyone’s time and help the financial promotion process run far more smoothly.

Follow these three steps, and it will make it far easier to get financial promotions finalised and approved.  If Compliance and Marketing work in harmony, it can remove a lot of the pain from the review and sign off process.

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