Manningtons responds strongly to the challenge of GDPR by expanding the use of Safe4

 

With a client base numbering close to 3,000 and offices across Sussex and Kent, Manningtons have become one of south-east England’s best-established accounting practices.  From their head office in Heathfield, East Sussex, they offer a wide range of accounting, taxation, and financial management services.  Like all professional practitioners, they have had to respond to the challenge of GDPR.

Manningtons relationship with Safe4 began in 2010, shortly after the secure document delivery and storage service was launched.  Alan Staples, Managing Partner at Manningtons, recognised that the application of technology to the running of an accountancy practice was gathering pace, and was determined to explore better and more secure ways to communicate with the firm’s clients.  Traditional methods of communication such as hard copy post and email were still in everyday use, as indeed they were in much of the UK business community.  However, these methods were often costly and inefficient, and in recent years have become increasingly unsafe as online fraud and theft have emerged as significant threats.

GDPR is driving change

The adoption of the Safe4 service by Manningtons has gathered momentum with the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation across Europe.  Alan Staples is extremely conscious that protecting Manningtons clients from misuse or loss of personal information is not only best practice, but is also demanded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.  Thus combining a high standard of service to clients with a high level of compliance has triggered a significant increase in the use of Safe4 as a means of getting confidential information to and from clients.

Alan’s view on this matter is very clear: “We can no longer send confidential information to clients by email.  That is the clear directive to our staff, and we are now putting Safe4 to greater use in order to ensure that we are taking the best possible care of our clients’ interests.  Manningtons serves a very varied client base across a range of different sectors.  Not all of our clients have been quick to adopt the use of modern technology, but they are now increasingly aware of the risks that they run by sticking with email as a way of transferring their confidential information.  We cannot run the risk of email intrusion, and must ensure that client information is kept confidential at all times.  The Technical Helpsheet from the ICAEW makes it clear that even if clients ask us to use email, this should not be an option that we choose.”

In areas such as payroll management, for example, the need for security is paramount.  The application of Safe4 to the transfer of key personal and financial information has increased significantly, and is not only providing heightened security but is also aiding efficiency.  Above all, Manningtons is able to offer GDPR-compliant services to its clients, thereby ensuring that their clients’ businesses and reputations are not damaged by costly and avoidable breaches or leaks of information.

Ben Martin, director of Safe4, is delighted with the progress that Manningtons have made in their adoption of Safe4.  “We have enjoyed a close relationship with Manningtons since 2010, and they were one of the first professional practitioners to adopt Safe4 in their business.  The advent of GDPR has led to important changes in the way that the Safe4 system works, giving greater control to our customers and increased security to their clients” claims Martin.  “We are in the process of making some significant enhancements to Safe4, including several that will be of value to Manningtons – such as the ability to sign documents within Safe4 – and it is of great value to have their feedback and input as we go forward.”

Safe4 has adapted to address the requirements of GDPR

GDPR has provided a catalyst for many businesses to overhaul the way that they manage their communication with their clients, and the recent changes in the Safe4 system have supported this.  The ability for a complete client vault to be deleted permanently is clearly an essential requirement, and this has been handled within the Safe4 system not just by the irrevocable deletion of data, but the maintenance of an audit trail record of the deletion and the “stub” of data that recorded the activity within the vault while it was live.  This audit trail will protect Safe4 customers by providing an evidential record should a former client have been engaged in illegal or improper activity, and is fully compliant with the GDPR requirement for data retention by contract.

Safe4 also allows a Subject Access Request report to be generated at the touch of a button, should a client ask for all of the personal information to which they have had access.

By increasing the adoption of the Safe4 system across its business, Manningtons is building a strongly compliant platform for further growth in the south east of England.  Safe4 is also enjoying the benefit of a close relationship with a professional customer whose real-world experience is proving to be a valuable reference point for the functional development of the system.

If you would like more information on how the use of Safe4 can support your GDPR compliance programme, please contact us.

EMFC enjoys the benefits of working with Safe4

EMFC Logo - horizontal to light

 

Syndicated bank lending has become a highly significant means of providing loan capital, particularly in emerging markets. A syndicated loan is a means of sharing risk between lenders, and allows a degree of participation that reflects each lender’s view of the borrower and the nature of their requirement for funds. Since the 1970s, syndicated loans have been increasing their share of global capital markets, and today represent more than a third of all international financing.

The need for development capital is frequently greater in emerging economies, where access to established capital markets can be more difficult. Hence the need for specialised services in this arena, provided by organisations that have deep knowledge of the banking and financial services sector, and are also able to interpret the requirements of borrowers in emerging markets.

EMFC Loan Syndications LLP (“EMFC“) was established in 2012 with exactly this objective: to act on behalf of the borrower by becoming a key member of their internal finance team, and to lead the creation of a financial model and due diligence information that will support the raising of the right type of loan from the right type of lenders. EMFC will work closely with the borrower to gather all of the information needed to support the loan credit process, and follow through by project-managing the transaction, including involvement in the bank syndication activity.

In order to provide this service effectively, EMFC must first gather, and then share, large amounts of information. The nature of this information is very sensitive – hence the need for a highly secure platform to hold and manage all of the necessary documents while they are being prepared and made ready for submission to the lending banks. EMFC started working with Safe4 in 2013, having established that the unique data model offered by Safe4 provided an ideal means of controlling all of the data needed for the execution of the process. The comprehensive permissions and access controls available in Safe4 give all parties the ability to see just the information they need to perform their function. Full audit trails and extensive reporting facilities also allow Safe4 to be used as a legally-compliant system of record.

??????????Sophie Papasavva, founding partner of EMFC, has held senior banking positions with J P Morgan and Standard Bank of South Africa, and recognised the benefits that using a flexible and secure service such as Safe4 would bring. Sophie believes that “whilst there are specialist tools available to help manage the syndicated lending process, they are costly to use and somewhat rigid in their approach, and are not necessarily ideal for use among emerging market borrowers. EMFC needed a partner who would listen to our requirements and make sure that the service was fit for purpose in the lending and borrowing communities we serve. Safe4 have made changes to their system to support some of the very specific functional requirements that we identified, and now the system has proved to be a valuable tool for EMFC.”

Sophie believes that Safe4 has brought some very specific benefits for EMFC. She has summarised these by highlighting some significant points:

Safe4 has brought us some valuable advantages in our highly specialised business. It gives us:

  • Highly confidential transactions support – very secure documentation management system
  • Information Memoranda and loan agreements are bulky documents – our focus on emerging markets often means banks have limited mailbox sizes – Safe4 never uses email to transfer documents, and therefore never clogs up any mailboxes
  • Ability to check and confirm invitees have actually accessed and downloaded the information
  • Multiple lenders invited – ability to ring-fence each, thus controlling the level of information disseminated even within a transaction
  • Speed and ease of access to all transaction documents by all parties
  • Adds to professionalism of the service EMFC offers as compared to exchange of documents over e-mail, which is now a very high-risk means of communication
  • Far more cost effective than other file management systems that try to do more (and remain underutilised and overpriced)

We hope to continue working with Safe4 to add value to our business, and to the borrowers and lenders for whom we work.”

Ben Martin, Director of Safe4, is delighted at the way the relationship with EMFC has developed. “Sophie showed great business insight in identifying the ability of Safe4 to support the complex and confidential transactions that EMFC helps to manage. Her input to the development of the system has been of real value to us, and we hope to be able to work closely with EMFC as they develop their growing reputation in today’s highly sophisticated financial services world.”

For more information on how Safe4 can help with the delivery and storage of highly confidential information, please refer to the Contacts Page on this website.  We will be very pleased to assist you.

Safe4 Information Management

February 2015

Mason Owen improves Client Service with Safe4 secure document delivery solution for the insurance industry

Mason Owen Logo

Mason Owen Financial Services Ltd provides a range of insurance services to corporate and private clients from their Liverpool headquarters and was one of the first general insurance brokers in the country to attain Chartered Insurance Broker status. They pride themselves on their ability to offer innovative solutions and personal services to clients far beyond their North West heartland.

Mason Owen originally turned to Safe4’s secure document delivery solution for the insurance industry to improve the due diligence process with Legal Indemnity Insurance clients. Protective file size limits on email systems were regularly causing larger scanned documents to be sent in several parts adding to the administrative complexity of dealing with them.  Now with Safe4, documents are delivered as a whole, with no rejection by client email systems, reducing costs and the risk of error.  With Safe4, document delivery is timely, reliable, secure and fully compliant with regulation and best practice

How does this happen?

Safe4 provides an online document delivery and storage solution with a secure connection through the internet to Safe4’s ISO 27001 accredited data centre. It is straightforward for Mason Owen to upload confidential documents and files safely to their own Safe4 vaults, where they and designated other users can get secure access from anywhere there is an internet connection. This makes it ideal for exchanging documents, not just for legal indemnity purposes, but also for claims and other insurance applications.

Delivery is instant and, in contrast to most email, is totally secure. Andrew Gibbons, Managing Director of Mason Owen Financial Services, sees improving client satisfaction as a result of the more reliable document delivery system and better overall compliance.

“We have been able to improve the security of bulk information delivery while at the same time offering additional benefit to our clients through this fast and easy way to store and share information. Our clients also value the 24/7 self-service functionality, reducing their need to request documents from our team.”

Andrew GibbonsManaging Director

From Property to Private Client

These client benefits and the versatility of the Safe4 approach has lead to Safe4 being quickly adopted by other parts of the Mason Owen organisation.

Property Clients with large portfolios now have a substantially improved document workflow. Mason Owen creates a folder in a Safe4 Client vault to receive documents such as renewals, certificates and invoices for a particular property rather than using email. This helps organise documents better and gives clients a repository where they can directly access any mislaid documents without any administrative effort by Mason Owen staff. All parties are notified when a document is available and the audit trail confirms that they are accessed.

Safe4 is not just being used with business clients. Private Clients can keep documentation such as purchase invoices, jewellery valuations and pictures in their Safe4 Vault. This enables Mason Owen as their brokers to deal pro-actively with any issues which may arise in a claims situation. The Safe4 audit trail also provides valuable date and time authentication in support of evidentiary requirements.

Security

Fundamental to Mason Owen’s management of client documents is the need for proper security as well as speed of communication and ease of use. The Safe4 solution always means there is a secure connection between Mason Owen, its clients and the Safe4 vault with no chance of third party intervention.

Andrew Gibbons also notes “Safe4 improves the security of confidential information used with clients and by regional directors and account managers on the road. Using 3G iPads and Safe4’s WebDAV access facility, we do not have to carry confidential information on at-risk portable devices. All documents are held safely under our control in a secure data centre and accessed through the cloud.”

Other security measures built into Safe4 give Mason Owen the ability to ensure users only have access to the documents they need to see and to view audit trails for compliance and to confirm that other parties have accessed documents. Safe4 follows regulatory guidelines and best practice on “cloud” security and successfully participates in the government’s CHECK scheme for IT security, under the auspice of GCHQ at Cheltenham. Safe4 underwent its first assessment under the scheme in 2014 and passed comprehensively.

Mason Owen Financial Services is committed to providing innovative services to protect client assets and to ensuring safe, speedy and effective communication with clients.  Safe4 provides an online document delivery and storage service which offers improvements in client service, reduces costs and enables professional brokers to satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements.

Working together, they provide an ever improving level of service to insurance clients which is timely, reliable, secure and fully compliant with regulation and best practice.

Interested to learn more?

If you are interested in learning more or in using Safe4 in your practice, please contact us at enquiries@safe-4.co.uk or call 0845 904 8045 to arrange for someone to call you.

Contact Mason Owen Financial Services Ltd at mail@mofs.co.uk or by calling 0151 255 2600.