Why Today’s Financial Firms Need Next-Generation Supervision

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Financial services firms face some the world’s most stringent and complex regulatory pressures. Now they face another challenge: controlling soaring compliance costs.

According to The Financial Times, analysts and investors express universal frustration with banks that blame compliance spending for missed cost targets1.  Whether it is too much wasted time or resources spent on ensuring audit-readiness or in fines paid for compliance failures, your firm is likely spending too much on compliance. Maybe you even take a “blank check” approach—throwing money at the problem and hoping it goes away. When auditors are looming and the clock is ticking, this knee-jerk response is not surprising. But it’s increasingly untenable. 

It’s time to ask yourself one question: “What is compliance costing me?”

FINRA, SEC and IIROC rules mandate formal retention and supervision programs. Every six months, firms can be required to prove they are monitoring and reviewing all broker/dealer communications. These rules have become one of firms’ biggest resource drains.

Most review teams waste time searching for violations. They have to review false positives and whitelisted content that have a low likelihood of containing any infringements. And they’re saddled with legacy workflows, cumbersome reporting tools, and no visibility into the review process.. That’s why most compliance programs have not scaled with the needs of the business or evolving regulations. All this makes audit readiness difficult.

It can also lead to steep penalties. A top financial services firm was recently fined $15 million for “failing to adequately supervise communications.2”  Just imagine what strategic spending it had to sacrifice in exchange for that payment.  Certainly, firms can no longer dismiss the costs of non-compliance.


So what can you do?

Optimising your compliance processes proactively through the right technology can lead to greater control over audit-readiness. And that means a firmer bottom line.

We are proud to offer truly groundbreaking supervisory capabilities through Proofpoint Intelligent Supervision. This next-generation solution helps you identify, review and supervise correspondence, whether it’s incoming, outgoing or internal. It maintains audit trails for even the largest and most complex financial services firms.

We enable complete compliance with SEC, FINRA, and IIROC obligations, with less effort than is required with your existing supervision solution or any manual tools. We offer native support for email, Bloomberg, IM, social media and enterprise collaboration tools.  So you’re covered for the way your firm communicates both now and in the future.

Intelligent Supervision helps you optimise compliance in three key ways:

  1. Make Your Reviewers More Efficient
    Your reviewers don’t need to work harder; they need to work smarter. With Proofpoint, pre-approved content for disclaimers and documents no longer wastes reviewers’ time. Violation previews avoid having to review false positives. Message filters help target, refine and prioritise the review queue. All this means “less noise” for review teams to sift through, allowing you to pinpoint compliance violations much more accurately and effectively.  
  2. Customise Your Compliance Strategy
    Your supervision solution should be flexible and optimised to meet the needs of your business—not something that forces you to work around its limitations. With Proofpoint, you can customise workflows by line of business; this helps you isolate administration, access and reporting to maintain privacy and security. Multi-tier escalation provides greater scrutiny by employee or violation type. Real-time dashboards track, monitor and alert teams on the progress of reviews. This level of visibility and flexibility means you can optimise supervision as your needs change.  
  3. Control Audit Readiness
    Be ready to respond to regulators’ audit requests at a moment’s notice. Authorities have taken a zero-tolerance approach to poor supervision practices. Failing to comply has cost some of the world’s most renowned banks hefty fines and tainted their brand. A proactive approach to audit readiness means you can avoid Our solution provides more analytics, dashboards, reporting and collaboration features to help you supply evidence and audit trails. Armed with this information, your business can stand up to the toughest regulatory scrutiny.


Intelligent Supervision offers proven performance and enterprise scalability for your firm, regardless of size. Using our next-generation solution, you can optimise compliance. And you can avoid the multibillion-dollar consequences of not doing so.

To learn more, visit www.proofpoint.com/supervision or read our press release.


Emily Wojcik is the Director of Product Marketing at Proofpoint for Archive and Information Governance Solutions.  Emily is a member of ARMA, EDRM and ACEDS. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Proofpoint, Inc.


[1] Laura Noonan (Financial Times). “Banks face pushback over surging compliance and regulatory costs.” May 2015.
[2] Financial Services Regulatory Authority News Release, November 2014.