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Intelliflo research shows adviser firms ill prepared for GDPR

25 September 2017

The majority of adviser firms run the risk of failing to meet the deadline for complying with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new survey by Intelliflo has revealed.

Advisers have until 25 May 2018 to comply with the new EU data rules, which will place greater requirements on advisers than the current Data Protection Act.

The survey carried out among 270 users of Intelliflo’s Intelligent Office software found two thirds of respondents do not yet have a plan to ensure GDPR is fully implemented by the enforcement date, and almost one in 10 said they were not aware of the new regulation.

The survey also highlighted confusion surrounding the differences between the existing Data Protection Act and the new GDPR requirements, with just three in 10 stating they understand the differences very well. Of the rest, a third said they have a little understanding of the differences, while almost four out of 10 said they don’t understand the differences well or not at all.

Rob Walton, chief operating officer at Intelliflo, described the results as “worrying” and said he would urge advisers to “act now” to get a firm grasp of what GDPR will mean for them and their businesses.

He said: “Although May might seem like a long way off, it’s actually very little time for advisers to start preparing for the enforcement date of GDPR. It’s not the case that if you are compliant with the current Data Protection Act, then there’s little to worry about. The new regulation is far more detailed, with new obligations and requirements and it’s essential that advisers can demonstrate that they have taken action to ensure they are fully meeting these. Personal data is the very essence of financial advice therefore GDPR could have a significant impact on most, if not all, firms.”

Other findings showed that three quarters of respondents do not feel concerned or don’t know about the impact GDPR will have on their businesses, while nine out of 10 currently store data that relates to clients they used to advise but no longer have a need to contact or have lost contact with for a number of years. Of those who store previous client data, over two fifths said they regard this data as being a valuable asset to their business.

Worryingly, only one in three said they have implemented security best practice, with almost half of those surveyed storing client data in locked cupboards or drawers within their offices.

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