Your firm, SectorScape, has recently undergone a visit and review by your home-state lead regulator. While some minor issues were identified, three major areas were highlighted as requiring remedial action. • There has been a systematic failure to keep appropriate training records. • Often, complaints are not being handled within an acceptable time frame. • Where redress payments to the customer are due following a complaint investigation, the payments are not being made in a reasonable time and in four instances the redress payment was not paid at all. It was noted that the compliance officer had to write to the board about this issue, which resulted in the four cases now being settled. The regulator has viewed these failings as particularly serious because a visit to the firm 12 months previously had a poor result, with remedial actions being required on selling practices, training arrangements, compliance procedures and recruitment practices. The regulator’s post-visit report specifically stated that: ‘All firms should take regulation and their regulatory responsibilities seriously. We have been very clear that firms are accountable for ensuring this is done and that appropriate systems are both implemented and maintained. Firms must take action in a timely manner. We will also take any previous regulatory action/comments that may have been taken/made against a firm into account when looking at a case. Persistent breaches, repetition of shortcomings and a slow response are unacceptable’. a) What does the above scenario indicate about the culture of compliance within SectorScape and the relationship between compliance and rest of the business? (10 marks) b) Given the current position, describe the actions that the compliance officer of SectorScape should now take to begin to address the current situation. (15 marks) c) Explain the range of enforcement powers that the regulator might use should it decide to take action against SectorScape for the breaches.
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