The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued new guidelines for regulated economic sectors on the risks associated with remote and hybrid work environments in a press release on Monday (October 11th).

The watchdog agency’s guidelines indicate that companies should be held to the same compliance threshold and be able to demonstrate that the lack of a central location or remote work environment does not adversely affect the continuation of regulated activities.

See also: Virtual cards support remote workforces

Hybrid working – a combination of in-office and off-site – is considered by many companies even as the pandemic subsides. Commercial landlords and government officials, however, have bucked the trend.

Firms in the financial services and other regulated industries will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the guidelines state, and companies must ensure that remote working does not interfere with the monitoring of the company in question. In addition, companies have a responsibility to ensure that consumers are not harmed, the integrity of the market is preserved, and financial crime does not increase or competition decreases.

Read more: Remote working challenges FIs to rethink data security

“The FCA rightly warns financial services companies about the risks associated with hybrid working practices, particularly with regard to challenges such as regulatory requirements, data compliance and accountability,” said Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of Zoho Europe, in a statement sent to PYMNTS .

“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many positive changes in terms of work practices, but far too many companies are still lacking the training and assessment of staff and IT infrastructure and systems to ensure full compliance,” said he.

Additional guidance included that companies operating in hybrid work environments should have adequate plans, systems and IT functions in place, including data, cyber and security risk considerations.

“Organizations looking to build a truly secure hybrid work culture in the future must focus on operating systems that can provide critical applications for managing everything from collaboration and finance to analytics and loyalty,” added Iyengar. “This will bring a new level of security to remote working and help companies comply with FCA standards.”

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