Dealers who want to lead the consumer-focused cultural change the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) era is hailing in F&I product sales will need to consider employing a compliance manager, F&I expert Adrian Foster predicted.
As director of Adroit Automotive, which provides business manager recruitment and interim contracts as well as F&I training to the automotive retail sector, Foster is already working on evolving the traditional business manager’s role and place in the showroom.
When he speaks at AM’s F&I Compliance Conference at Oxford’s Belfry on 18th November he will outline his vision of an evolved business manager’s role which includes an on-going audit of every deal file the dealership produces as well as overseeing the sales processes and compliance procedures throughout the business.
He said: “Merely changing the title of the business manager to say that of customer care manager or compliance manager simply won’t cut it given the conversations we have been having with the FCA.
"Today’s business manager is very sales focused and often takes responsibility for stacking the deal and second facing, yet a compliance role requires very different skills including a methodical approach, an eye for detail and an ability to grasp the nuances of every customer’s individual perspective.
“Many of the big dealer groups already employ a deal file auditor whose job it is to ensure dealerships comply with the FCA and I think we will see the finance companies employing their own auditors who will visit dealerships and check everything is in order relating to their finance contracts.
"However, I think dealers who are really serious about thriving under the FCA regulations will need to employ their own person on site.
“Originally, when business managers were first introduced into the showroom, the tendency was to recruit from outside the industry.
"As the role gradually evolved in the years that followed, business managers have become interchangeable with sales controllers and so have been generally recruited from within the sales force.
"However, it is highly likely we will see automotive retailers once again seeking external applicants for these compliance roles with former independent financial advisors (IFA) being the likely candidates.
"Many IFAs will be looking for an alternative following the strict governance in the pensions and mortgage market but will be able to put their customer service skills and understanding of applying rigorous financial guidelines to extremely good use in our industry.”
Foster will explore the host of issues facing business managers and the wider sales team of incorporating compliance within their current job roles as well as looking at some of the alternatives and applying lessons from other sectors such as banking where many High Street banks already employ compliance officers.