The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was being introduced at the back end of May and, as is often the case, many companies left it late in the day to consider the impact this would have on their business and the work needed to become compliant.
Here at Goodman Corporate Finance we were thankfully well prepared for the work involved but the journey to compliance was still a difficult one. We had to set time aside to go through the regulations with a fine tooth comb and check all our systems and processes to ensure we had all the safeguards in place to protect the information we hold. We also had to make sure that we only store and utilise information in ways that our clients understand and have consented to.
How can businesses be sure they’re compliant?
There has been much uncertainty for both brokers and lenders on what they need to be doing, with any number of lawyers advising different ways to comply with the new regulations. You only have to Google GDPR to see how many companies are out there now offering support with GDPR and find a plethora of media articles discussing the topic.
To try to cut a swathe through the confusion, the NACFB has been offering support to brokers, including publishing a joint statement with the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) that outlines a unified interpretation of how the broking process is impacted by GDPR. It’s well worth taking a look – it offers guidance for brokers to consider when they act as a finance intermediary, but as it’s not legal advice brokers should still consider whether they need to get some legal support.
Is GDPR good or bad for business?
Things seem to have settled down a bit now, and there’s a general feel that most companies can demonstrate that they’re well on their way to compliance and are certainly taking the steps needed.
As businesses we often say that we hate red tape, but to my mind regulation of our industry through both the FCA and now GDPR have made us look at our working practices and make improvements as needed. By helping our industry and businesses in general enforce ever higher standards of conduct and customer care, regulations support us to enhance our great foundations and offer a robust and compliant service.
There will be much for us to learn when the first casualties of the new regulations are identified, and those companies not meeting the requirements receive fines or other punishment. The rulings will help give the rest of us a better idea of how to interpret the regulations in the absence of any really clear guidance as yet.
We all need to work together across the industry to share our learning, good practice and even discuss concerns to make sure that those first casualties come from somewhere other than commercial finance. If you’ve identified any key issues that you think brokers and lenders should be addressing but may not be aware of, please do share your thoughts.