Challenging the status quo

Challenging the status quo - Morgan Spain, Samantha Carroll, Chris Baker and Nathan Bellgrove

Ashurst recently launched the Obligation Management Solution (OMS), a new product designed to take the pain out of understanding complex obligations for in-house lawyers and risk and compliance professionals. This bold new solution integrates seamlessly into existing compliance platforms and combines Ashurst's legal, risk advisory, and NewLaw expertise to deliver relevant, tailored obligations information to the people who need it.

We spoke to the key members of the OMS team, partners Morgan Spain, Samantha Carroll, Chris Baker and Nathan Bellgrove, to find out how this new product addresses the challenge of obligations management.

Tell us in your own words, what is our Obligation Management Solution and what client need does it address?

Morgan: OMS is the foundation of a holistic compliance management framework. It provides clients with a comprehensive obligations library that can be used by legal, risk, compliance and business operations functions to ensure compliance with the law and minimise compliance risk. OMS is different to anything else available on the market because the library only includes obligations that are applicable to the organisation's business, based on legal advice provided as part of the OMS service.

Chris: Historically organisations either needed to purchase a generic subscription service that provided them with a broad feed of potential regulatory obligations, leaving them to sort through which were applicable and how to interpret them, or build their own register, with a high upfront cost and the ongoing challenge of dealing with the dozens of changes that are published each month.

OMS provides the best of both worlds. It delivers a plain English library of obligations, prepared by expert legal and risk professionals, that is tailored to their business. It's delivered as a subscription service with monthly updates that can be loaded directly into an organisation's risk platform so the register is always current with changing regulations.

How did you identify the niche in the market for this solution?

Sam: After decades of advising on compliance and working in a compliance role for a bank, I have been observing the need for a better solution to obligations management. Joining Ashurst and meeting other partners who had similar observations, such as Morgan, Chris, and Nathan, reinforced that this was a client need. Our unique ability to collaborate across different disciplines provided the ingredients we needed to develop the solution.

What was the most critical element for delivering a successful Integrated Solution like OMS?

Chris: A solution like OMS requires a range of skill sets that Ashurst is uniquely positioned to offer. As a leading legal firm, we can provide the legal expertise required to ensure obligations are accurate and comprehensive. Our Risk Advisory practice brings deep experience in the practical aspects of compliance, and our New Law practice ensures we can manage the technology and process required to stay across ever-changing regulations.

Where is the Solution available currently? Are there plans to roll it out in additional countries/globally?

Morgan: Current geographic reach is Australia for financial services clients – Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions, such as banks, mutuals, credit providers, super funds, wealth managers, investment banks, and financial advisors. There are also cross-industry modules for employment, privacy data and cyber security, and corporate governance.

Nathan: In addition to rolling out the product across other existing regulated industries and jurisdictions, we will be scanning the horizon for opportunities that arise from global trends and issues such as energy transition and the use of artificial intelligence.

How have clients responded to OMS, and, more generally, Ashurst's foray into this Solution's development and delivery?

Morgan: Everyone we show it to loves it. Again, there's nothing like it on the market. OMS offers a lot of value at an affordable price point, which frees up clients' teams to focus on high-value work.

Based on your OMS journey, what has been the greatest learning for you, both personally and professionally?

Sam: If you believe in something, be prepared to back yourself and have a go! If you walk in the shoes of your clients and understand the problem you are solving, you cannot go wrong.

Morgan: Challenge the status quo – a lot is possible when you think differently about things, provided your focus is always on what clients need (not what you're good at).

Chris: A range of perspectives and professional backgrounds is required to solve complex problems. If we didn’t have the range of skills and experience across our legal, risk, and new law practices, we would not be able to offer the market such a comprehensive, game-changing solution.

Nathan: I've learned that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – the interconnectedness and complementary skills that have emerged during the process of building OMS will pave the way for other solutions to follow.

You clearly make a great team. What one word would you use to describe your approach to teamwork?

Morgan, Nathan and Chris: Trust

Sam: Passion!

Find out more about our Obligation Management Solution or contact the team with your obligation management query.

Follow Samantha, Morgan, Chris, and Nathan on LinkedIn for further updates on OMS.

OMS contacts