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72% of financial services firms agree that flexible working benefits mental health

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but WFH arrangements can expose firms to risk of non-compliance

  • Research from AIMA shows that 72% of financial services respondents believe that flexible working has a positive impact on the mental health of their teams.
  • In the UK, the FCA’s expectations around capturing, monitoring, and archiving communications data apply equally to employees working from home or remote locations.
  • Facilitating flexible working requires a greater reliance on technology to communicate and share data in a virtual world whilst remaining compliant.

London, 27 October 2022: A survey conducted at the Alternative Investment Management Association’s CyberTech Virtual Forum in April revealed the majority of financial services professionals believe that their mental health has improved as firms have adopted a range of flexible working practices. 72% of respondents said flexible working has had a positive impact on the mental health of their teams (17% believe it has had a negative impact and 11% are unsure).

The UK is among the top nations embracing hybrid working for the long-term, with desk-based workers,  including those in the alternative investment sector, expressing the desire to retain these freedoms.

A study conducted by AIMA in 2021 called Gaining an Edge: How hedge funds are navigating the new talent landscape, revealed that fund managers are taking this trend seriously. When asked how they are seeking to retain talent, 69% of fund managers surveyed said they are focused on improving the work/life balance of their employees, with 49% offering mental health guidance and support.

Many global studies point to the same link between flexible working and improved mental health. A study conducted by FlexJobs in association with Mental Health America (MHA) surveyed 3,000 professionals in 2018, to find that more than 97% of people believe that having a more flexible job has a “positive” impact on their quality of life.

The AIMA report goes on to point out that facilitating flexible working in the financial services sector requires a greater reliance on technology that enables compliant communications and data sharing in a virtual world. This is creating a surge in demand for digital compliance solutions and platforms. 

“Because of the benefits to mental health, flexible working should and can be facilitated in financial services, but without exposing individuals and businesses to the risk of non-compliance,” said Matt Smith, CEO of compliance technology and data analytics firm, SteelEye.

“Communications record keeping and monitoring rules are a key component of financial regulation and exist to ensure fair trading and stable markets. Firms with weak information barriers and internal controls governing the use of eComms and other digital platforms need to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment and ensure they have oversight over all business-related communications.” Smith added.

Commenting on how firms can support flexible working while ensuring compliance, CEO of compliance chat solution, DeepView, Catherine Parry, notes that modern technology is key:

“Before enabling flexible working, firms must enhance their policies and processes with the capabilities they require to monitor the spread of information and identify potential instances of compliance breaches, with a particular focus on WhatsApp given the recent news of SEC and CTFC penalties for tier-one banks.”

In the UK, the FCA has been clear that its expectations around capturing, monitoring, and archiving communications data apply equally to employees who are working from home or other remote locations. In the US, the SEC has emphasised the need for firms to prioritise monitoring for MNPI leakages and insider trading. Consequently, firms should improve their internal controls or information barriers for digital communications if they want to continue to support flexible working. 

About the research

Data was taken from the results of AIMA’s poll at CyberTech Virtual Forum on the 20th of April 2022 which collected responses from 150 event attendees, as well as AIMA’s 2021 report on how hedge funds are navigating the new talent landscape.

About SteelEye

SteelEye simplifies compliance for financial firms and saves them time and money. SteelEye’s holistic platform allows firms to achieve ROI from communications and trades Record keeping, Oversight and Intelligence.

With SteelEye, firms can easily lock their data in a WORM-compliant vault, identify and stop early warning signs of harmful conduct, and demonstrate that they have watertight policies, procedures, and controls.

By connecting large volumes of data from multiple sources, SteelEye enables firms to meet regulatory obligations more quickly, efficiently, and accurately than any other solution. Firms also gain full visibility and control of their trading and compliance operations, with cutting-edge analytics that provide timely insights on risks and opportunities. Visit steel-eye.com to learn more.

About DeepView

DeepView’s platform manages risk including social engineering, on digital platforms. The solution enables regulated businesses from financial institutions to pharma, to manage multiple social media and chat channels securely.  DeepView’s patented ChatGuardTMarchives and monitors chat systems, such as WhatsApp. It’s uniquely able to protect privacy by splitting work and personal chats.  Additionally, patented ImageGuardTM, is able to read a photo or video and identify data leaks.  Enabling real time alerts to any photo or video content from zoom calls to social media posts that contain confidential data and risk internal security. The solution is fast to deploy and takes seconds to onboard. Visit deepview.com to learn more.

About AIMA

The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) is the global representative of the alternative investment industry, with around 2,100 corporate members in over 60 countries.  AIMA’s fund manager members collectively manage more than $2.5 trillion in hedge fund and private credit assets.

AIMA draws upon the expertise and diversity of its membership to provide leadership in industry initiatives such as advocacy, policy and regulatory engagement, educational programmes and sound practice guides.  AIMA works to raise media and public awareness of the value of the industry.

AIMA is committed to developing skills and education standards and is a co-founder of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA) – the first and only specialised educational standard for alternative investment specialists.  AIMA is governed by its Council (Board of Directors). For more details go to www.aima.org

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