You could be forgiven for thinking that GDPR is another burden to an industry that is constantly under the focus of regulators through new legislation, after the commentary about the additional responsibilities and increased retribution.
However, I would suggest that GDPR is going to benefit the financial services world, especially as it permeates other industries, where consumers are ultimately going to be more educated and knowledgeable about how organisations will process their data.
One can reflect upon other legislation that has altered consumer perceptions, my personal favourite being the treasured enjoyment of the humble fish finger.
Crinkle cut chips, beans and fish fingers were a staple of my childhood diet.
But what I was eating didn’t necessarily tally with what was pictured on the box.
Studies in the mid to late 80s found that rather than being comprised of primarily fish, the golden breadcrumbs actually contained a paltry 37% of fish.
This, along with other ‘scandals’, led to legislation within the food industry to provide information to consumers on what precisely they were purchasing.
The food industry was not particularly impressed with these new demands, which effectively threw light onto the shady nature of processed food and exactly what we were putting on our plates.
After the lobbying and eventual acceding, food sales didn’t plummet, fish fingers were still copiously enjoyed and the world continued to turn.
The upside was that consumers could make more informed decisions that subsequently led to trust.
Trust of what was being purchased, trust where vulnerability existed and trust that aligned with the brand and nature of the product being offered.
A new era of openness
It is from this that financial services should consider GDPR as a genuine opportunity to embrace the tenets it represents.
Empowered consumers, clear and defined usage of how an individual’s data is processed and the understanding and trust generated as consumer awareness increases, will consequentially make the job of an adviser easier when engaging customers.
Add in the nature of data sharing, processing and various integrations, and GDPR creates a layer of trust and transparency that will only augment the work of the intermediary.