The Future for Compliance – Best Practice and Delivering Value
Spurring change and adding value – the new role of Compliance
The Compliance Officer, whether he likes it or not, is also a Sales Director, Strategy Director, Marketing Director (etc). The ‘good’ Compliance Officers have come a long way from the “You can’t do that” school, to one in which he or she is more than prepared to give advice and assistance to all areas of the business. This has been described to us by one Compliance Officer as “the art of the possible”; helping the firm understand what can be done from a regulatory viewpoint, coaching on best practice, passing on lessons learned outside the firm (and even outside the industry), acting as a sounding board and in general showing management that getting the customer’s experience right from a commercially-driven viewpoint achieves, by happy accident, most if not all of the regulatory requirements. Or the other way around.
The present UK debate around the role of product distribution and customer experience, provoked by CP 121, the Sandler and Pickering reviews and other market pressures, provide, clear examples of where the visionary Compliance Officer can add considerable value to the business strategy.
Of course, this migration to a more rounded and business-focused role has placed enormous challenges on the individuals who make up the Compliance Department. Gone are the days when the Compliance Department was the final resting place of the failed salesman, the general dumping ground for the organisation’s low-achievers.
The challenges of modern Compliance work has led to a Compliance function which is quite the opposite, staffed by people who are high achieving, self- motivated, professionally qualified and career-minded. A broad range of skills and knowledge is now required within the department for it to meet the firm’s demands and need for a high value service.
We are well aware that the Compliance Department has changed from being the dead-end of a career gone wrong, to an opportunity for ambitious individuals to gain a broader understanding of the workings of their organisation and the industry. In this respect the Compliance Department has followed in the footsteps of the Internal Audit Department, which for some time has been seen as an excellent stepping-stone for the career- minded, ambitious individual.