Mobile apps have the potential to make compliance easier for those who need to stay compliant as well as for those who need to enforce compliance
At first blush, the idea of a mobile application for financial compliance software might hardly seem transformative, or necessary at all. Conflicts-of-interest monitoring is about keeping tabs on the deskbound, right? Employees who want to make personal stock trades, hoping to get pre-cleared in the morning so they can log into their brokerage accounts over lunch and execute. Compliance officers roaming the halls, hounding those truants who haven't completed their annual certs after the umpteenth notification, or deskbound themselves sifting through data trying to deal with an escalation.
Of course, this picture is getting to be an increasingly out-of-date one. People are less and less deskbound when it comes to anything that involves computing in both their personal and professional lives, transformed by the handheld computers so many of us now carry, a.k.a., smartphones. And mobile apps now have the potential to transform compliance on both sides of the equation—those who need on-the-go access to stay compliant and those who need on-the-go access to monitor and enforce compliance. Following are four benefits of mobile compliance apps you may not have seen coming.
1. PRE-CLEARANCE ANYWHERE, ANYTIME
Pre-clearance is at the heart of any modern compliance program. That employee who wants to get pre-cleared in the morning so she can execute her trade at lunch? With an automated software solution she shouldn't have to wait at all. When your firm's compliance software was implemented, the code of ethics was tidily translated into software code, allowing for quick and decisive yes-or-no answers in most cases. A well-built mobile app gives employees access to this same automated decision-making system wherever there's a cell connection. Some mobile apps also offer on-the-go pre-clearing for other common types of employee activity that need to be monitored, like gifts and entertainment spending.
2. MORE CRITICAL ACTIVITY CAPTURED
In 2018, 52.2% of all online traffic worldwide was conducted on mobile devices.1 It's a mobile world, and a mobile workforce calls for mobile solutions. Why? The more data a software system built to detect and monitor employee conflicts of interest has to work with—to crosscheck, cross-analyze, and cross-correlate—the better. It's not hard to imagine, with so much work being done on-the-go, that an employee off somewhere—in a car, hotel room, or out to dinner with a client—doing her company's bidding might legitimately forget to pre-clear important activity or log some critical bit of data that could come back to haunt the company or the employee. Mobile compliance apps help ensure this won't happen.
3. BETTER SUPERVISORY RESPONSE TIMES
The other side of the mobile compliance app equation, opposite the employee out wining and dining a prospect or trying to execute a hot trade from Starbucks, is the on-the-move compliance officer trying to keep up with all of her work. A mobile compliance app can make all the difference. Supervisors can use them for the administrative and oversight functions vital to their jobs. When the compliance platform flags suspicious activity and escalates it, supervisors can review it like they were sitting at their desks. Good mobile software also gives full question-and-answer functionality and a history of previous reviews and reviewers.
4. STREAMLINED PROCESSES FROM A-Z
The fourth and final benefit touches on several of the previously covered transformational aspects of mobile tech, but even as an amalgam the idea of the power of mobile apps to streamline and simplify compliance processes and operations overall is worth a separate mention. Thus, on the stay-compliant side of the equation, good mobile compliance capabilities don't just offer those firm employees out and about the ability to take action, it also offers them the ability to make assessments: allowing existing holdings to simply and easily be viewed, along with any important associated transactions the employee may have in motion.
On the enforcing-compliance side, mobile apps mean compliance officers can do more than just review escalated requests; they can also more easily and more consistently support their direct reports, by virtue of the fact they can carry out the most critical aspects of their job wherever they are. As such, there's far less waiting on a busy, out-of-office boss to get back to you on something important. And staying on top of high priority tasks in general should also be made easier if notification capabilities can be managed at the device level of your app. And if existing roles and access in your firm's compliance platform are also automatically observed, you may find yourself on the verge of a truly seamless and streamlined compliance experience.