New Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations that come into force this year mean CIOs will need to monitor staff mobile calls. Compliance must be achieved by November, CIOs need to act now, experts say. UK based financial services have until 14 November 2011 to comply with the FSA ruling PS08/1 on mobile call recording.
From November, all mobile communications made on a financial institutions' fixed or mobile devices will need to be recorded and archived for at least six months. The deadline is now looming large, says Matt Chalk, finance industry manager for Vodafone Global enterprises:
"Factor in the hardware deployment, internal testing, user acceptance and other complications," says Chalk. If you haven't started your project by May you are going to be running a pretty tight schedule."
When the FSA originally absolved its financial services constituents from the responsibility of recording all mobile calls in March 2008, it was because they accepted that there were no technically viable systems to make this happen.
Things are very different in a post credit-crisis 2011. As mobile technology is involved in practically every link of financial services business processes, each conversation or text message now has for too much relevance to be ignored.
Who is affected?
The FSA rules that 'only relevant conversations' are subject to the need for recording compliance.
The rules will cover a wide range of users including front office sales people, traders, back office advisers, settlement, private banking areas and corporate finance.
Naturally, there will always be people in these groups who will want to bypass the system. They may try to conduct certain calls in private, using their personal mobiles. The FSA ruling is that all reasonable steps must be taken. If a work device is provided, all conversations must be recorded. If city workers carry personal devices, they should be banned from work use, say the FSA guidelines.
The November 14th deadline seems a lifetime away. Companies will have to start the process now to be in control of the situation, Chalk of Vodafone says. CIOs need to have evaluated all the relevant players and ironed out all the terms and conditions with them over your contracts. "The real deadline for starting would have been April 30th," he says.
Any institution affected by this new legislation is already likely to be recording all its fixed line calls using technology from one of the big three providers – Nice, Varient and Cybertech – to store all calls. The software for managing these stored digital files is the same, so there will be no added learning curve for storing mobile calls. Except that there may be a higher volume of work to do.
How is mobile different from fixed line recording?
The crucial difference between fixed line and mobile call recording is the method of capture. On fixed line calls, there is one obvious point at which to record all calls, the PBX point of entry to your organisation. With mobile calls, however, there are many points of entry.
The method of capture used determines the success of the recording. This being a new discipline, there is no clear picture of which is the best way to capture the call and record it.
Ease of use not cost is the deciding factor
The crucial factors to consider are firstly the security of the operation - can calls be lost or hacked? Secondly the ease of use. Some methods of recording that have been tried involve several seconds' delay while the recording mechanism is set up. This can confuse customers initially, when they don't know what's happening to their call.
A customer-facing financial service that chooses a clunky call recording system could be doing itself a massive dis-service and could lose customers, says Justin Kimber, propositions developer at BT Global Services. It's vital to create as efficient a set up as possible, if only for the sake of branding.