Much has gone on since I lost wrote a blog, but today I saw some news which stirred me into action. The GFSC have announced a new initiative for MLROs and MLCOs to attend exit interviews with them – a great idea in my view and one I am sure will be a success.
The six month pilot initiative was announced by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission on the 8th January in respect of MLROs and MLCOs who leave a Fiduciary or Bank licensee this year. It is envisaged that “the regulators, by undertaking these interviews, will develop a deeper understanding of their MLRO/MLCO role(s), responsibilities and challenges faced.”
However, it is not absolutely clear from the press release as to whether the interviews are compulsory. In my view that would be necessary as it ensures that the employee will not be under any form of pressure to decide whether to attend or not – it simply won’t be up to them or for that matter their employer.
Whilst the idea of this interview is said to be for learning purposes there are other factors at play here. Employment contracts are often said to have ended by mutual agreement, however, this doesn’t mean that both parties are happy to part company. This may seem contradictory but actually “by mutual agreement” is a euphemism for several scenarios. This could be “please leave and we will pay you to go” or “that was unfair dismissal – see you in court [or rather tribunal]”.
These disputes can result in compromise agreements which establish the basis for the end of the employment contract and usually involve a financial incentive. These private agreements allow the employee to move on to another role without blemish and employers to replace them without besmirching their business. Because Guernsey is a small place and rumours abound, this can be useful to both sides but, like non-disclosure agreements, they can occasionally hide a deeper rift which could involve a professional or regulatory concern.
Or it may simply indicate something basic went wrong which any good employer would want to know in order to help in future to keep their staff.
This is why exit interviews, run by impartial individuals, can be very useful for all involved. For those firms which do these as a matter of course, the fact the GFSC are running such exit interviews will be of no concern. However, for those who don’t, perhaps now is the time to introduce their own exit interviews – they may be surprised by what they hear.
In my experience, the GFSC will probably benefit more than they envisaged – not because they get the anticipated discussion but because they get feedback they did not expect to receive. As well as giving insight to the GFSC, I expect the individual will be pleased at how helpful the interview is for them. The GFSC may even feel at some point that it is appropriate to publish anonymised versions of the discussions for the edification of us all.
I for one hope not only that the pilot becomes a permanent exercise but that it is extended to other Prescribed Positions. In particular, it should apply to directors who are considered one of the two “four eyes”.
However, if the GFSC have made the interview compulsory, MLROs and MLCOs who attend can also take the opportunity to have that confidential chat they may never otherwise have felt able to have. So not just education for the regulators but food for thought for employers too?