Regulatory Compliance – Friend or Foe?

Read on to find out the benefits and complexities of compliances and adherence. If you find this useful and need expert advice/help to do this, get in touch. 

In today’s corporate world, accountability, transparency, and risk mitigation are possibly the most crucial factors that help a business succeed. Collectively, these components ensure that enterprises all over the globe are comfortable enough to execute transactions knowing that the structure within which they operate adheres to the rules and regulations in force at a given time. 

What is Regulatory Compliance? 

It is impossible to provide a comprehensive definition that encapsulates all the duties and responsibilities of the term regulatory compliance.  

However, one can easily establish that regardless of, and depending on, the dimensions of particular business activity, it is imperative that an adequate Compliance Framework is in place. In simple terms, the main function of the framework is to ensure constant and continuous communication between operators and authorities overseeing a particular industry.

With this in mind, one can safely say that within the Financial Services industry an entity must be well-equipped and adhere to the laws which govern the sector as well as also ensure compliance with other prevalent laws and regulations. This includes those governing Anti-Money Laundering and those relating to the Combating of Financing of Terrorism. 

The Compliance Officer and the Risk-Based Approach 

The duty of the Compliance Officer is to ensure that an entity has the necessary policies and procedures (external or otherwise) in place, whilst ensuring that the entity conforms to the relevant laws and regulations. It is also within the Compliance Officer’s remit to ensure that the policies and procedures in place are properly implemented in the entity’s operations. 

This role is of particular importance within a compliance setup due to the nature of this function requiring a substantial degree of neutrality in assessing the efficiency of an entity’s compliance framework. It is crucial, therefore, that the Compliance function operates independently from other services offered by the same entity. 

In order to carry out their duties efficiently, it is helpful if the Compliance Officer is granted the necessary seniority. The supervisory nature of this role requires an in-depth level of knowledge and most of all, that the entity within which the Compliance Officer is engaged makes all of its resources available to them. 

Should this not be the case, a Compliance Officer is responsible for notifying the senior management of any risks, that the company may face. 

In addition to the above, the Compliance function is also responsible for the submission of annual reports, the carrying out of training (internally) and general regulatory compliance. 

Benefits of an Efficient Compliance System 

While the setting up and maintaining a proper compliance system is viewed as a cumbersome exercise, when a compliance system produces the intended results, it facilitates the operations of the given entity and serves as a guide in the decision-making process. 

Needless to say, maintaining an efficient system requires constant updating and following up with the law in force, however, it comes with its own benefits. Upkeep of a system requires the staff involved in the entity’s policymaking to stay informed and in turn this knowledge is shared with other employees of the entity, resulting in a better-informed workforce. 

An updated compliance system leads to the fact that at any point in time, the entity is in a position to produce the necessary documentation, particularly when required by the relevant authorities. This essentially reduces the risk of the entities having to incur penalties or, even worse, having their licence revoked. 

From a business perspective, a formidable compliance system sends out the message to prospective clients or partners that the entity is in fact a reliable one.