Compliance Officers Report Rise in Personal Liability

A global survey of compliance officers worldwide by Thomson Reuters finds that more than half feel their personal liability has increased.

The business intelligence group canvassed more than 600 practitioners from financial services firms for its annual Cost of Compliance survey including banks, brokers, insurers and asset managers across 71 countries covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

Fifty-three per cent of respondents said their personal liability has increased; a reflection of increased focus on senior individuals at the supranational level.

The survey suggests that this perceived increase in personal liability may be a contributing factor of costs associated with senior compliance officers continuing to escalate. The findings also highlighted the diverse pressures which compliance functions continue to face, with shifting supervisory expectations, no let-up in the volume of regulatory change and the start of many of the big implementation programmes for major complex legislation.

Key findings from the latest report include:

  • Sixty-six per cent of respondents expect the cost of senior compliance professionals to increase in 2014.
  • Seventy-five per cent of respondents expect an increase in the amount of information published by regulators.
  • Consistent with the 2013 survey, 26% of compliance teams spent less than an hour a week amending reports for the board.
  • Globally, compliance functions again reported spending very little time liaising with the internal audit function, a persistently repeated finding which is a growing cause of concern.
  • The number of compliance teams spending more than 10 hours a week tracking and analysing regulatory developments has nearly doubled in both the US (13% in 2013; 25% in 2014) and the Middle East (8% in 2013; 18% in 2014).

“The ability to comply with confidence and transparency is integral to building trust in the financial services sector,” said Chris Perry, managing director, risk, Thomson Reuters. “Compliance leaders are being held to increased accountability amidst an ever-increasing volume of regulation, the expectation to move and comply fast, and the exposure to record fines for non-compliance, now regularly totaling in the billions.

“In this time of heightened scrutiny, it has never been more important that boards support their compliance function and its senior leadership with the budget, resources and tools to help ensure transparency, trust and a lasting change in behaviours throughout firms.”

A detailed report on the survey’s findings can be found here

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