Nameeta Biswas speaks on compliance panel at MGAA 2022

7 Jul 2022

Chief Compliance Counsel Nameeta Biswas was on a panel at the Managing General Agents’ Association conference 2022 focused on compliance, ‘The Elephant in the Room’. The panel discussed various issues, from the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) ‘fair value’ assessment and operational resilience to management information and ESG (environmental, social and governance)

Panel chair Claire Churchard, Senior Editor at Newton Media Group, began by asking the panellists about the main regulatory and compliance issues on their radar.

Elliot Dunseath, Head of Compliance at Kentro Capital, said his “main challenge” is the FCA’s requirement to carry out a fair value assessment of all products by the end of September. Katherine Webster, Director of Governance, Risk and Conduct at AXA Commercial, reiterated this. However, she said she is looking ahead, and the big thing coming down the tracks is the FCA’s Consumer Duty: “I see this as a big umbrella across the whole customer journey and within that sits fair value and a number of other things.”

Claire then asked the panel to what extent they expect the FCA’s reach may increasingly encroach on broader values such as ESG?

All the panellists said they expected this, with Nameeta saying she thinks it is just a question of time before they bring in regulations or, more likely, best practice guidelines. “But,” she said, “it has to be proportionate for a company of our size. We are already taking measures and looking at the cases coming to us and asking whether or not we can insure them by looking at the background of those cases. But it has to be proportionate – if we apply it to the nth degree, we’re not going to have a business. One size does not fit all.”

Suneeta Padda, Founding Director of Padda Consulting Limited, then spoke about diversity and inclusion in the context of management and boards. “If you have people of colour, women, white people, that’s no good if they’ve all come out of Oxford. What you must have is diversification of thought,” she said. “That comes from having an all-inclusive employment environment.”

Nameeta said we were having the same conversation about diversity 25 years ago and are still talking about it. Something needs to be done, otherwise we will still be talking about it in 25 years’ time.

Finally, Claire asked what the next big-ticket item the panel foresees from the FCA. Nameeta suggested it would be the regulation of Fintech. Suneeta mentioned people buying land in the metaverse and someone trying to insure that. “How is the regulator going to regulate that make-believe world?” she asked.

Katherine said she hopes regulation slows down and the FCA gives everyone time to embed what has been coming. But she still expects there to be a constant stream of regulation driven by the political and socio-economic situation.

On that note, the audience thanked the MGAA and panel for an excellent session.

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