Written by Jonathan Bowdler on Tuesday September 8, 2020
Not only do graduate trainee programmes now include compliance in their schedule, but entry level roles are available (often termed as an analyst) in the vast majority of compliance monitoring departments. Team leader, manager, senior/function manager, executive and director roles are also available in most firms. Senior compliance professionals in heavily regulated firms require authorisation from the regulator themselves.
Whilst knowing the technicalities of regulation is important, you cannot be an effective compliance officer if you cannot interpret the spirit of regulation and inform the business of its legal responsibilities and the implications of non-compliance. To disseminate this message, you need to understand how people act and think. Listening skills are also vital, to understand why people behave the way they do in the workplace.
One of the fundamental objectives of regulation is consumer protection. Much of the purpose of a compliance function is to ensure that customers are treated fairly and with respect. Compliance professionals therefore have a strong sense of ethical responsibility, knowing the work they do contributes to a just, fair and ethical relationship between business and customer.
Following on from above, whilst it is the board’s job to embed ethical behaviour in the organisation’s culture, compliance professionals are central in ensuring that ‘doing the right thing’ is seen as a natural extension of being compliant.
Given that regulatory requirements extend across the majority of an organisation’s activities, you will find that over time you will get to work with most, if not all, functions and departments within a firm. This provides a strong sense of independence and flexibility, allowing you to understand what they do, why they do it and how they do it!
Occasionally old regulations and laws are removed, but the overriding trend is for further regulation. As a consequence, more compliance is required, and thus more compliance professionals are required within firms.
The key skills and attributes required of a compliance professional are easily transferable as your career develops: communication skills, business knowledge and acumen, pragmatism and risk management are all much sought-after in multiple industries and roles.
Regulation is not going away, and firms are desperate for qualified, competent compliance professionals. Therefore, not only have opportunities significantly increased in recent years, but so too have the remuneration packages available.
Compliance is a global community that transcends industries and national borders. There is a growing community of compliance professionals across many different regulated industries and jurisdictions. ICA continues to play a pivotal role in the growing professionalisation of compliance, and provides a support, expertise and training to equip compliance professionals with the tools for the job.
The regulatory environment is in a constant state of flux, with sometimes very rapid change necessary, and so you are never quite sure what the priorities (and therefore your activities) will be from one week to the next! Compliance is not your standard 9-5 role.
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