Financial Compliance: Which regulations must be considered?

Why is compliance so important? It minimizes risks and creates trust among industries, governments, and people. This sounds like a no brainer, but the challenge is figuring out which compliance standards fit your business. One mistake could cause huge debts and lawsuits. This issue is particularly serious for the financial sector, which has legal and operational standards that are the bedrock of compliance management. Since banking is a pioneer in compliance management, we are going to take a deeper look at the regulations they must follow. 

Financial Compliance and law framework

Over the years, the world has become more connected and tons of data is processed, shared, and stored through the digital ecosystem. The internet has become a necessary resource, but a good threat opportunity for theft and hackers. In an attempt to minimize risk, public and private institutions have created norms and regulations to ensure data safety. So, which are the main compliance regulations that businesses located in the financial field must consider? We have highlighted the most important laws that impact the financial market. 

  • The Dodd-Frank Act [2]: Was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. It aims to enhance the way the financial market is deploying accountability, transparency, and consumer protection procedures. This act enforces the need of storing records for every transaction. The thing organizations sometimes miss is that any activity related to trade must be stored as well. This includes electronic communication such as emails, chats, voice messages, and so on. 
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA AML) [2]: Also known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, this act was created in 1970 and requires every company to cooperate with the US government in the aim of detecting money laundering. Thanks to the BSA-AML act, we all need to provide data under request. Since this regulation has been in the market for more than 50 years, you might be familiar with it. If not, you should know it emphasizes the importance of keeping your data storage. What else do you need to do? This act requires companies to delegate compliance responsibilities to an individual and also create a training program for appropriate personnel regarding compliance standards. 
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Signed into law in 2002 to strengthen financial regulations. In the beginning, businesses didn’t take it well, but eventually, it contributed to counteract the effect of the economic crisis in 2008. This act raised the standards given for audit reports, but this is something we all can expect with a new act. What is new? SOX also gave legal protection to whistleblowers to testify in court about any illegal practices they are aware of without any retaliation. Be sure to train your employees to identify any practice that infringes on compliance in your business. You have a good opportunity to make them allies.

Consumers in the centre of compliance

As consumers are becoming more important, they are also protected by compliance regulations that companies need to follow. Data privacy and accessibility are just one of the areas you need to nurture. 

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): Requires financial institutions to explain to customers their information-sharing practices and to safeguard consumer information. To ensure the correct execution of this, companies must establish a security program that protects consumers’ nonpublic personal information (NPI). NPI includes name, address, income, Social Security number, account numbers, payment history, loan or deposit balances, credit or debit card purchases, court records, and consumer reports.
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: FACTA, signed into law in 2003, enforces consumer power by enhancing procedures to ensure the accuracy of their credit records. With FACTA, consumers have the right to ask for a credit report each year. This act also provides resources to prevent crimes such as identity theft. 

Data is important for compliance purposes. As we recommended to one of our financial customers: If you are using Salesforce, integrate your system and take advantage of all the resources you have (Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics, Einstein AI, and more). You will build close relationships with your customers while meeting your compliance standards. Also, don’t forget your employees. Make sure your chat software makes them more efficient while keeping your data safe. 

Tok 30 day trial Financial Compliance
Financial Compliance

Five tips to make feedback your ally at work

Feedback is something people are often afraid of because it tends to only expose weak points that may make you feel intimidated and vulnerable. However, that’s a very old-fashioned point of view. Effective feedback is not only about providing a list of things that are wrong. Constructive and empathetic feedback brings new perspectives and a positive intent to highlight proven skills.  “What Good Feedback Really Looks Like” on the Harvard Business Review says: 

“Feedback — both positive and negative — is essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading.”

Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley

We consider feedback to be a huge source of knowledge and an opportunity to improve. If you are having trouble giving or receiving feedback, here are 5 valuable recommendations we apply at Oktana

1. Consider feedback at every stage. 

Whether you are a senior manager or just beginning your career, requesting feedback should be always part of your planning. Why? Sometimes you are so in love with your projects that you tend to believe everything is going well. So you keep working with that perspective and when you finally realize something is wrong it’s usually too late or too expensive to fix it. You can be sure you are moving in the right direction by asking your teammates, boss, or partner for their perspectives on your progress. We do it all the time and trust us, the results are great. Plus, it creates a sense of ownership for the whole team. 

“Feedback is so important when we execute every single task. It measures the quality of your work. Besides, it helps me identify possible mistakes and improvements that will enhance our project.”

Zayli RodrÍguez, QA Analyst at Oktana Uruguay

2. Distinguish what is worth your attention 

Ok, let’s say you are following our previous recommendation and you are considering feedback as your projects progress. You are excited because your co-workers are giving you cool new inputs. Congratulations. That’s awesome! But what happens when you start noticing that some of the feedback you’re getting contradicts other feedback you’ve received? We know, it’s challenging. Everyone is bringing their own perspective to it and they aren’t always going to agree. You know yourself and your projects. That means you have the job of figuring out which feedback is the most relevant. Just make sure you’re not letting your bias guide which feedback you’re listening to.

3. Be truly positive

We love it when people are positive and enthusiastic, but if you lose your sense of reality it may not be easy to deliver value. When you are required to provide feedback for a project or a teammate, you have a huge chance in your hands to help them perform better. Don’t miss that opportunity by hiding your real thoughts because you’re afraid of a misunderstanding or you’re just trying to be polite. This is what constructive feedback is all about. Find the best way to convey your ideas in a way your partner truly feels that you actually want to improve things. Use your voice, regulate your tone, and use any resource you have so you help others focus on the solution, not the weakness. 

4. Actively listen to every client.

And by the client, we are not exclusively talking about your customers. We are also talking about internal co-workers. When you create a solution, you think about your final users, don’t you? So whatever you are doing, you make sure it makes sense for them. But you also collaborate with other teams within the company. Wouldn’t it be efficient to have a good idea of what they think of your project and your performance? Indeed, it is!  At Oktana, we use Tok, the leading Chatter real-time messaging app, for staying always connected. We use channels to collaborate but when we need to get feedback, we know private conversations are the best place to do it. Activate every approach you have to get the feedback you need. Bruno Venturini, tells us how Tok helps him collaborate: 

“Tok allows us to communicate in an intuitive way with your team or co-workers. Besides, it’s also relevant for sharing ideas between developers and QAs to make our projects improve”

Bruno Venturini, Developer at Oktana Uruguay

5. Encourage others to give feedback

Create the conditions for an environment where feedback becomes one of the engines that drives excellence. Most visionary companies, either multinationals or startups, track feedback consistently. If you are part of one, get onboard and treasure that asset. If you feel your company doesn’t understand the value of constructive feedback, teach by example. Create simple spaces where people feel their opinion is taken into account. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Chats or phone calls also work. As soon as your co-workers notice you are performing better, they will want to copy your strategy and it will be easier for you to give/request feedback. 

So, these are our recommendations for any employee to make feedback their ally. We live it every day at Oktana, even more during the new environment this pandemic has brought (we have previously written an article about Communication and Remote Work that you may also want to read). Apply them in your daily routine and you will notice the difference in your performance. Also, If you want to see Salesforce’s approach, we encourage you to read the modules about the Culture of feedback and the importance of One-on-one Meetings. Have a good one! 

Feedback
Feedback

Leadership: The best way to manage your team

Team leadership may be a long and challenging path. The good thing is that leaders are made, not born. Every successful leader you see on TV, in your company, at your university, or even in your neighborhood developed their skills over time. If they were able to become strong leaders, so can you. Kevin Kruse, a Forbes contributor, and CEO of LEADx, define leadership as: 

“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

We like his approach because it emphasizes the importance of the “others” – our team! Leadership is not about you as the leader, it’s about the people you’re leading and what they will be able to achieve. If this seems overwhelming, relax, it just means you’re facing a new challenge. It may take a little extra effort, but in the end, you’ll gain new skills to help your team (and you) succeed. Here are five recommendations that help us lead our teams here at Oktana and turn our people into high-performers.

1. Leadership is not about you.

We’ve already said it, but it’s important enough to repeat. If you expect to get all the credit as the leader, you’re probably not in the right job. Assuming a leadership role requires a certain amount of expertise in specific areas. You weren’t promoted to leadership with the expectation that you’ll be doing the exact same work you’ve always done. There wouldn’t be any challenge in that. Your role is now to inspire your team and develop their capabilities so they can accomplish more. They might even be working on the same types of achievements you did before you moved into leadership. It’s their time to shine now. Your excellent leadership will shine through their accomplishments.

2. Great leaders connect.

Great leaders connect their teams. And it’s not just about having regular conversations. When we say “connect your team”, we mean “become a real support for them.” They’re challenged by you to become better professionals, but they’re also looking to you for help or instruction. If they don’t have your support, it may become an awful experience for everyone. It’s important to let them be independent in their work, just be sure your other responsibilities don’t take your attention away from their progress and needs.

Mauricio Villamayor, product designer at Oktana Paraguay shares his perspective: 

“I always think of giving more independence to team members, but this pandemic makes me more aware of the need to be supportive and stay connected in a deeper way.”

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

3. The challenges are real.

Are you the kind of person who is always looking for a bigger challenge as soon as you finished the last one? That’s the sign of a great professional. If you see this pattern in your team, congratulations, you’re leading a high-performing team. The challenge for leaders is creating work experiences that take your teams to the next level. Map your expectations for the team and think of innovative and interesting projects to help them experience the professional growth they need. Challenges nourish your team. Feed them.

4. Learning goes both ways in team leadership.

Some people think employees learn from their leaders, but that leaders don’t learn from employees. Leaders provide knowledge and team members execute the tasks. We feel that’s not taking advantage of the full potential of the team. Our team brings expertise from design, development, marketing, administration, sales, and operations, from many countries. It’s taught us that leaders who don’t see their team members as potential sources of knowledge are missing an opportunity to see their business and markets from another perspective. That knowledge is pure gold in a world where everything is constantly changing.

5. Communicate efficiently.

Time is money, whether we’re talking about business or our daily lives. As you decide how to manage your team conversations, make sure those moments are as efficient as possible. Every team meeting needs an agenda so team members can easily understand the focus of the meeting and what they need to bring to the table. Use your channels well and try not to overwhelm your team. Stay strategic. Deliver the right message, through the right channel, at the right time. 

“I believe Tok helps me a lot because it gets fast communication with my team members in real-time. Either I need to have 1:1 conversations or group arrangements, Tok is the platform where I can trust.” 

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

Remember, becoming a great leader is a learning process that never ends. So whether you’re leading your first team or you’re an experienced leader, keep this advice in mind. Also, if you want to go deeper into leadership and team management, take a look at this trail about Empathetic Leadership and Managing the Salesforce Way.

Hope you have enjoyed it so far. We’re constantly striving to improve our leadership, join us. Our team knows what good leadership entails and we do our best to keep growing. We are a great place to work so if you’re interested in joining our team, go over to our available positions. Also, if you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Leadership
Leadership