Presentations are a highly effective engagement tool and are widely used in every area of the Financial Services industry. They are used to convey often complex ideas and data, contextualised to specific audiences. An audience can be a room full of financial experts or a customer needing financial advice about investments or a pension scheme.
Considerable effort goes into the preparation of a presentation: making the content relevant and interesting, supported by a design and layout that gets the message across effectively and makes your brand stand out.
But especially in Financial Services, there are several challenges to creating presentations that will wow audiences. Financial presentations need to comply with regulatory requirements; the standards and the integrity of the brand need to be safeguarded; the time and effort it takes to produce a constant stream of high quality presentations can be onerous; and there is a growing necessity to ensure the security of all documents, including presentations.
These inter-related challenges need to be factored into how presentations are created and used and can add a lot of pressure onto the Marketing teams who are already working hard to meet the time-critical demand to produce presentations.
Here are some simple steps that can be taken to help.
Presentations created by regulated firms are usually viewed as financial promotions, so they need to comply to regulatory requirements. There are several reasons why this is often difficult – time pressures, limited resources, outdated processes – but non-compliance runs the risk of regulatory authority sanctions and reputational damage.
Compliance involves making sure all corporate data is correct; that promotions abide by FCA guidelines on being Fair, Clear and Not Misleading; they comply with Treating Customers Fairly and other Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations; and that the correct disclaimers and regulatory statements are used.
Efficient review and approval processes greatly help teams creating presentations. An efficient review and approval process should provide the ability for everyone involved to collaborate and check the presentation easily and be approved quickly to avoid delays in getting information to key audiences.
Safeguarding brand integrity
Brand compliance is another potential problem. Presentations, or any other document for that matter, that don’t meet your brand standards can cause audiences to be confused and can undermine your company’s reputation for professionalism.
Your brand can be diluted by not using the correct brand assets. Assets can include images, logos in the correct colours and sizes, colour palettes and fonts. This can be remedied by storing assets that are needed to create presentations in a digital asset management (DAM) library that is easy to find and easy to access. The custodians of the library, usually Marketing Teams, need to make everyone aware that it exists and where to find it, and giving colleagues who create presentations permission to access the part of the library that stores what they need.
A good DAM library can store all the digital assets needed for creating brand compliant presentations, and much of the material that is needed for regulatory compliance too, including disclaimers, regulatory statements, and approved corporate content such as ‘About Us.’
Time and Effort
Time is always a precious commodity. Giving permission to colleagues creating presentations to access the DAM library would reduce the time that Marketing teams often spend on providing assets to their colleagues. Getting the assets themselves would also save the presentation team the time of having to request and wait for assets to be sent to them, especially as time is often of the essence in getting the presentation ready.
Ensuring assets and content found in the library is pre-approved would help too. Being ready-to-use would save having to go through an approval process every time they are needed. If an asset is updated or changed it should be replaced by the up to date version so there is no chance of an old version being used in error. Tagging assets for easy searchability is another time-saving mechanism usually found in a good digital asset library.
Another time-saving procedure is to make content easy to re-use. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time a new presentation is created. Brand assets can be constantly reused, and so can snippets of approved content and key wording be reused in new presentations. Previously created presentations can also be retrieved, and the content updated for reuse.
Document security is a growing challenge for regulated firms trying to reduce risk. Governance processes are increasing around documents, with particular focus on version control, authorised access to documents and reducing human error in using documents. Presentations are an important customer facing document and maintaining their integrity is a key component of governance procedures.
Version control is vital in building and retaining the trust of customers. Customers need to know that the information they are given is up to date. Version control processes should factor in prevention of the risk of human error as far as possible; making it impossible for content to be inadvertently altered or an out of date version being sent to a customer.
Sending documents as PDFs reduces the risk of content being altered on purpose or by mistake and customers being sent inaccurate information from your company.
Controlling access to documents is important too. Presentations are sent to customers by business development and support colleagues following or ahead of a meeting. Documents should be stored in an environment protected by permissions protocols and access to them restricted on a need-to-have basis.
Many financial services companies are using platforms where documents can be accessed on a self-serve, on-demand basis to avoid delays in getting business critical documents to customers. A good platform will restrict access to authorised users only. It is also useful to be able to log usage and provide an audit trail of who is using a specific document and when, and this information should be reportable.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.
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