If it bleeds it leads, and there’s a lot of ink to be spilled in the name of regulation.
When I was a journalist, the editor had one cast iron rule for selecting front page stories.
“Conflict is interesting.”
FinTech PRs should find financial regulation very interesting indeed.
Not just interesting: painful, frustrating, costly, unpredictable, with shifting deadlines; never enough for regulators, always too much for the regulated.
With so much built-in friction it’s a deep vein of thematic content that can be mined for everything from thought leadership, to advice on best practice, implementation success stories, and cautionary tales of woe.
How did something so outwardly dull become so important?
Blame the global financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, when the G20 agreed a series of reforms to improve transparency in banking, securities, and OTC derivative markets.
The financial press has been buzzing ever since about Solvency II in insurance; EMIR and REMIT in commodity trading; MiFID being extended from banking to derivatives (MiFID II); and Dodd-Frank in pretty much everything related to finance.
The coverage is often dominated in the early stages by think pieces from senior EU regulators explaining the rationale for the new regime, followed by spokespeople for trade associations providing the industry’s view and concerns, and then more and more analysts and politicians joining the fray as implementation deadlines begin to loom.
There is loads of room for FinTech vendors to take part in these conversations as they play out in the press. Aside from providing cover for their end-customers’ natural concerns about the heavy hand of bureaucracy, FinTechs can also point — albeit obliquely — to their own solutions; insofar as they automate and simplify compliance.
When that can be backed up by case studies that demonstrate how compliance can be achieved with the minimum of fuss and expense; the makings of a content-based PR programme begin to fall into place.
I suppose the question becomes, how does a vendor with a credible regulatory compliance solution stand out from the crowd? Mainly by demonstrating a solid understanding of the business issues a new regulatory regime creates, and being able to suggest approaches that address them.
For example, reporting formats and data definitions are recurring bugbears in financial regulation. Could you have explained, for example, how to comply with, the pre- and post- trade reporting requirements of REMIT in 2014, when the entities that market participants were required to report to hadn’t even been set up yet?
I know of a few who grasped that the commodities industry was crying out for clarity, and turned what was basically an informed (but speculative) point-of-view into prominent recurring coverage in key derivatives trading publications — across Europe.
Grasping the compliance nettle for content creation
Ultimately, success starts by simply deciding to take ownership of the topic. You’d be surprised how few vendors — even those who trade in regulatory solutions — actually see compliance as a rich source of comment.
Maybe that’s because it looks too much like hard work ( the legal complexity certainly can be daunting), or perhaps too much like a topic that your average PR agency might struggle to grasp?
They’d be right up to a point — PR programmes based on regulatory thought leadership do require rigorous work, and senior PR people experienced in developing and selling those kinds of stories to press. They can help you tap into your own company's expertise, and position yourself as an industry expert, one with a clear understanding of the business issues keeping prospective buyers awake at night.
If that sounds like the recipe for a costly retainer added to your marketing spend, it needn’t be. You just need a FinTech agency with the right skills, experience, and the capacity to help.