Compliance is not a role for the quiet ones.
It doesn’t have to be loud; it just has to assert its voice.
Quite often it’s perceived as a separate function that needs to be deferred to from time to time. On other occasions, it’s considered an unfortunate but necessary intrusion into day-to-day activity.
In a climate of regulatory change, the Royal Commission, and customers generally scrutinising every company they deal with, the importance of compliance cannot be underestimated.
Merely saying what your audience wants to hear, and then not making any meaningful changes, is an attitude the financial services industry can no longer get away with.
Compliance should and needs to operate as an integrated part of your business. So, how do you make that happen?
It starts with recruitment – find people who are effective communicators that can constructively challenge peers and stand their ground when appropriate.
It then continues with practice-based learning covering:
- Understanding the industry they’re in – banking, financial markets, financial advice, credit. They need very solid ground on which to stand if they don't have it already
- General AFS Licence or Australian Credit Licence compliance – what you can and can’t do under your licence, avoiding conflicts of interest, managing breaches, facilitating professional conduct, and devising genuinely implementable compliance plans etc.
It’s also a two-way street. Compliance roles deserve the right kinds of business support:
- Value them as important people within your organisation. They are not a bolt-on function – involve them
- Properly inform the business of why compliance people are there. Establish forums for compliance people and the wider business to share experiences and insights
- Foster a collaborative approach to working out and introducing compliance-related changes to policies and procedures
- Empower them by offering training on leadership and change management
- Nurture them continually with continuing professional development on regulatory changes, industry trends and technological changes/innovation
- Include in their KPIs a requirement that they conduct regular ‘walk-arounds’ in their departments and that they attend or join compliance networks
- Ensure they have a direct route to senior decision makers.
If you’re proud of a good compliance record, advertise it. It’s a selling point for internal people, prospective employees and customers alike.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to energise and uplift this important role. This is the new sound of compliance.