Data Protection – update

We mentioned the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which take effect from May 2018 in a previous news item, and you may in the meantime have heard snippets in the press.

Some debate has been around the Right of Erasure, that is the right of any member of the public to require their data to be removed from a firms records. While initially a potential worry it should hopefully not prove so much an issue in practice. The rules say “Data Controllers can keep personal data if certain grounds apply”…….one of these being….. “Establishment, exercise or defence of a legal claim”.  So given that in financial services no 15 year long-stop applies, it seems reasonable to believe that for as long as a client could make a complaint against you, you would be within your rights to refuse to delete their data.

On the marketing aspect (which would include mailshots, newsletters, phone calls for marketing purposes  etc.) firms should have the clients specific consent in place to these by May 2018. Specific consent means that the client has ticked a box (or taken some other proactive action which you can substantiate) to actively opt in to any marketing communications.  Whilst the current ALIFA Client Agreement template does ask the client for a positive opt in / out of general marketing (which sufficed under the old rules, as long of course as firms actually completed it!), it won’t meet the new guidelines which require active consent to each type of marketing activity. We are aware that some firms rely on an assumed “opt  in” to marketing declaration, inviting the client to write in if they don’t wish to receive marketing – this of course will also not meet the new requirements.

We currently aim to release an updated Client Agreement in the latter half of November (the main reason for not doing so now are potential changes as the rules settle into place). When this is available you may wish to consider contacting those clients on your marketing list/s to complete the new declarations in time for the May 18 deadline.