The role of a compliance officer

Organisations which create a new compliance position know that they need a compliance officer but are often not sure how that person will fit into their organisation. Sometimes there is only a basic job description.

A new compliance officer's first priority is understanding how the organisation works and who they report to. This can be difficult if the person is new to a compliance role or has limited financial services experience.

Sometimes I have the role (unofficially) of pointing compliance officers in the right direction.

I have come across an interview with Jack Holleran from Ernst & Young America on compliance best practices which gives a useful summary of the chief compliance officer's role.

"The chief compliance officer is the person within the corporation who is accountable for having the right answers to five basic questions:

  • What are the company's most significant compliance risks?

  • Who within the company owns those risks and is accountable for managing them?

  • What controls do those risk owners have in place to manage those risks?

  • Are the controls working?

  • How do we know, that is, how do we measure the effectiveness of what we have in place and drive continuous improvement based on that information?

    The chief compliance officer does not own any substantive risk area but rather serves as the architect and steward of the compliance program. He or she often serves as the champion for compliance and is its spokesperson who makes sure that employees understand the importance of driving compliance into their work, day in and day out. "

    If you are a CEO, internal auditor or compliance officer read the whole article here.

    (I found this interview via Law Department Management).

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