Survey Highlights Rising Cost of Compliance

Regulatory fatigue, resource challenges and personal liability are expected to increase throughout 2015, according to the sixth annual Cost of Compliance survey published by Thomson Reuters.

The business information group, which surveyed nearly 600 compliance practitioners from financial services firms worldwide, comments that the findings reflect the sheer volume of regulatory change that continues to be anticipated, as firms navigate both international and domestic rules which have global impact with resulting overlaps.

According to the survey, global systemically important financial institutions (G-SIFIs), with greater operations and resources, are better equipped to manage these 2015 findings as opposed to smaller non-G-SIFIs.

The findings also highlight the diverse pressures which compliance functions continue to face, with broadening compliance remits, no let-up in the volume of regulatory change and the growing pressure on compliance budgets.

“The survey has become a voice for compliance practitioners,” said co-author, Stacey English, head of regulatory intelligence, Thomson Reuters. “The open concerns and views that participants shared provide real insight into the practical reality and challenges of compliance functions around the world.”

Key findings from the 2015 report include:

  • Ever-increasing regulatory change: Compliance officers express regulatory fatigue and overload in the face of snowballing regulations. Seventy per cent of firms are expecting regulators to publish even more regulatory information in the next year, with 28% expecting significantly more.
  • Rising personal liability: Fifty-nine per cent of all respondents (53% in 2014) expect the personal liability of compliance officers to increase in 2015, with 15% expecting a significant increase, compared to 21% of G-SIFIs who expect a significant increase in personal liability.
  • Growing resource staffing challenges: From recruitment challenges in finding and retaining suitably skilled staff to increasing pressure on compliance staffing budgets, 69% of respondents expect the cost of senior compliance professionals to increase in 2015.
  • Regulatory matters: These are consuming disproportionate amounts of board time, from correcting non-compliance and preventing further sanctions to implementing structural changes to meet new rules.

“For any regulated firm to thrive or at least survive into the medium- and longer-term, consistent investment needs to be made in the risk, compliance and control functions,” said Phil Cotter, managing director, risk, Thomson Reuters.

“We have seen an ongoing rise in compliance leaders expressing regulatory fatigue as they are being held to increased accountability amidst an ever-escalating volume of regulation, the expectation of being knowledgeable, and the added pressure of being exposed to record fines for non-compliance.

“With heightened scrutiny and accountability, it has never been more vital for boards to continue to support the compliance function and senior leadership with the budget, resources and tools to help ensure a culture of transparency, trust and adaptive-change in behaviours throughout firms.”

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