Compli-Serve Namibia helps financial services sector better understand new regulations
A regulatory compliance services provider, Compli-Serve recently launched in Namibia to help the financial sector better understand regulations, particularly the Financial Institutions and Markets Act, which is set to come into effect in 2021.
Headed by Sybil Somaes as its Managing Director, Compli-Serve Namibia, will conduct a risk assessment of business models of clients in the financial services sector and identify compliance gaps based on the relevant legislation.
In an interview with the Economist, Somaes said they will be able to advise the client on the areas where procedures and policies need to be amended in order for them to comply with their compliance obligations.
“Through this we are able to provide the clients with assurance that all identified regulatory risks have been addressed. We thus play a supportive role in assisting the client,” she said.
Somaes said the Financial Institutions and Markets Act or the FIM Bill as it is currently known, provides certainty with regards to outdated legislation and provides for consistency in the regulation of the sector.
She added that this also means increased compliance obligations for services providers which may result in additional costs.
“This is certainly where outsourcing to a service provider such as Compli-Serve Namibia can assist. The Bill further defines financial advice; introduces enhanced governance requirements for financial institutions and intermediaries and the Bill sets the standard for the conduct of business for all players,” Somaes said.
She further explained that for consumers, the Bill introduces enhanced protection and transparency, for example the requirement that certain information be disclosed at the point of sale; the introduction of plain language requirements in communication with clients and more transparency around fees.
“The Bill, however, is voluminous and cannot be read without its accompanying regulations and standards which are still being finalized and does make determining the true impact of the legislation a bit more challenging,” she added.
According to Somaes, the Namibian non-bank financial services industry is well-developed and regulated.
“It is a stable sector and a significant contributor to GDP, particularly the pension funds industry. The regulation of the sector is however due for reform considering that some legislation stems from pre-independence and certain sectors are regulated by legislation from the late 90s,” she added.
Somaes said the informal sector in the economy is also not adequately tapped and the FIM Bill provides opportunities in this regard, for example, through the introduction of regulation for micro-insurance.
“More work can be done by players in the area of consumer education and the introduction of the Financial Services Adjudicator through the Financial Service Adjudicator Bill will certainly enhance consumer protection,” she explained.
Compli-Serve Namibia is a registered subsidiary of Compli-Serve South Africa.
Sybil Somaes, Managing Director of Compli-Serve Namibia.