UK CFOs and COOs Prioritise Harmonised Regulatory Environment

The vast majority (93%) of UK financial services chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief operations officers (COOs) believe that a harmonised regulatory environment within the EU is important to the operational well-being of their businesses, according to research from Robert Half Financial Services. 

The survey of 200 CFOs/COOs, conducted by an independent research firm in June 2012, includes responses from 50 CFOs and 50 COOs from financial services organisations in London and other major UK centres. Ninety-two per cent of respondents believe a single environment is important across the eurozone countries, while 88% think it is important globally.

Both groups also said that they believe the need to meet demand for so many areas of regulatory change is driving demand for senior finance professionals with the right skills to ensure their organisations are compliant. This has led to a rise in compliance budgets for more than half (53%) of UK businesses over pre-2008 budgets.

All 200 respondents were asked: ‘Which three of the following global regulations have had the most significant impact on your business?’ Responses were as follows:

  • Anti-money Laundering (AML): 42%
  • Disclosure or reporting requirements: 35%
  • Privacy requirements: 33%
  • Anti-corruption requirements: 32%
  • Basel III: 22%
  • Sanction requirements: 17%
  • International Financial Reporting Standards:13%
  • US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): 11%
  • Turner Report (Financial Services Authority (FSA)): 7%
  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act (J-SOX) or equivalent: 5%
  • Dodd-Frank Act: 3%
  • Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID): 2%

“We have noticed a significant increase in demand from organisations to bring the right talent on board to help them stay ahead of the regulation tsunami,” said Neil Owen, global practice director, Robert Half Financial Services.  “Some companies are bringing on permanent senior professionals; others are turning to seasoned project regulatory specialists with the requisite knowledge and experience to oversee key initiatives. 

“It’s not surprising that so many financial executives believe it is important to harmonise all these areas of regulatory compliance, which has become such a huge element of their day-to- day role and that is driving up costs for the majority of businesses.”

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