Obsidian Welcomes FSA Mobile Regulation

Paul Liesching, CEO at Obsidian Wireless is pleased about the forthcoming regulations regarding the recording of mobile device calls.

“As you can probably imagine, we were delighted that the FSA made their groundbreaking announcement about mobile recording as it validated Obsidian’s strategy and product development over the last three years. The FSA’s focus on Mobile Electronic Data and the importance of EEC Privacy Laws was especially interesting for us as these are two areas which we knew had to be taken into account with any credible solution. We are aware that some financial institutions are planning to handle the new legislation by banning the use of corporate mobiles altogether, but – as stated by the FSA during our mobile compliance event in May – this is not sufficient, as should any trade come under query, the FSA will be looking for a ‘full audit trail’ without any gaps. So all aspects of a trade must be recorded, meaning that simply banning the use of corporate mobiles may not be sufficient. This is because it could potentially encourage use of private handsets which would create significant exposure for the regulated organisation.

In the weeks since the announcement there has been much comment, especially in the financial press, about this change in legislation – and also much speculation about likely costs. With Finextra quoting an extremely high figure per handset per annum in an early comment, which was taken from the FSA Policy Statement CP10/7 citing an unnamed Investment Banks belief that the cost of implementation would be £10,000 per user. It’s clear that the channel would have some concern about the likelihood of selling at that price point. However the FSA themselves have estimated an annual cost per user of less that £1,600 based on 16,000 users costing £73.3m over three years, so it’s fair to say that there are some wildly conflicting estimates out there.

We have been developing our mobile recording solution over the past three years in close communication with the FSA and with leading mobile network operators, voice recording and compliant archiving specialists. Throughout this process we have been very conscious of the price sensitivity of the market, especially in the current economic climate – and to that end, our charges are positioned well below the FSA’s estimates. We’ve taken the view that, rather than being an imposition on the market, the recording of mobile electronic communication can instead empower a financial marketplace to be even more responsive to the diverse communications demands of the market.

We believe that to overprice Mobile Compliance would be a very short sighted strategy and would ultimately lead to the removal of mobile phones from the industry, which would clearly be a retrograde step. So we have priced our product to be in line with standard mobile communications and fixed recording costs, which represent a fraction of the overall cost of supporting a trader in the market today. This makes the solution eminently affordable and ensures that our channel partners will be able to sell confidently in the exciting new market space.”

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