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Volume 30, Issue 1

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Monday, 24 June 2013 16:00

Keeping in step with regulation

The arrival of outcomes-focused regulation in October 2011 was greeted with howls of concern by the solicitors’ profession as a whole. A new and uncertain regulatory landscape lay ahead of a profession that has a strong desire for certainty and clarity at the very heart of its culture, training and service offerings. Commentators at the time noted that the new regime offered plenty of negatives and few positives. Eighteen months on, though, the landscape feels very different. Those that have embraced the changes can feel empowered by them and are able to drive risk management into their business as a key part of the business process, rather than simply a compliance burden.

There are things that firms need to be aware of, principally that the change in regulatory structure has moved responsibility away from the regulator to the regulated, with a consequent need to apply sufficient resource to risk-management activities. But there are also opportunities to be exploited. Not opportunities to play fast and loose in the face of broader, less prescriptive, regulatory rules, but instead opportunities to focus on making regulatory, compliance and risk management a more central part of any business and to construct it in a way that fits with your business needs rather than regulatory strictures.