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Top five reasons to get into compliance

Top 5 reasons to get into compliance

Top five reasons to get into compliance

This article was written for by David Robson, Head of Research & Development at International Compliance Training (ICT).

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cupboard for the last few years, you’ll surely have seen big banks making the news – and usually for all the wrong reasons.

Most media coverage focuses on what are known as 'enforcement actions'. Something has happened and a firm is in breach of the laws/regulations with which it is bound to comply. And it’s usually VERY expensive for the firms involved.

So how do you counter non-compliance? You invest in better, more knowledgeable compliance staff - which of course creates opportunity for compliance-minded professionals. Fair enough, but why should you bother? What’s in it for you as a career option? Here are my top five reasons.

(By the way, when I say compliance, I’m talking about 'regulatory compliance' – so including anti-money laundering and financial crime under the broad umbrella term - the slogan would be considerably less catchy otherwise).

It’s the focus

For many years compliance was seen as something which was, frankly, a bit dull. You weren’t involved in the rest of the business. In fact, if you had your way, there wouldn’t be much of a business – as then there wouldn’t be anything non-compliant taking place.

But now the compliance professional is pretty much in the centre of an organisation. No longer is it about box-ticking or rubber stamping. Firms now want engaging and knowledgeable compliance people. They’ve cottoned on to the idea that it works better to ask compliance people’s opinions early on, rather than waiting until something has gone wrong to give them a shout and see if they can fix it somehow.

People listen to you

Designing a new product? Let’s involve compliance!

What’s the regulatory standpoint on it? What delivery channels are you intending to use? Into which jurisdictions might you place it? To what sort of customers?

Compliance professionals are essentially risk managers. They might be able to save you grief now – or even add in something the business hadn’t thought of (as commercial acumen is another skill of ‘new-school’ compliance people).

It’s genuinely interesting

How many people can say that their jobs are interesting?

Compliance IS interesting.

Well, alright, most of the time it’s interesting. There are some bits which are more exciting than others. Being able to recognise, track and report millions of dollars in cartel drug funds channelled through corporate service providers and bearer shares may be sexier than working out the finer points of which roles exactly are captured by provision 3.6.1 in the conduct of business sourcebook and how that in turn impacts (or otherwise) on the principles covered in Appendix 6 section 9B.426.01

But they both need doing. The world would be a dull place if we all liked the same thing and the reality is that the scope is huge and spans right across regulatory and financial crime compliance.

It can pay very well

Knowledgeable compliance professionals are in demand. Very much in demand. Robert Walters released a hiring survey which confirmed the opportunities out there in compliance and the difficulties firms are encountering in sourcing the staff they need.

And big demand means good salaries.

Robert Walters labelled Risk and Compliance professionals the biggest winners, while the Wall St Journal ran a similar story, detailing how Compliance is booming.

You’re making a difference

OK, so this has been a relatively light-hearted look at what can (and should) be a very serious subject. Honestly though, compliance people DO make a difference.

You are essentially a protector. You stop things going wrong and make sure they are done 'right'. You might be protecting an individual from fraud, a company from investing wrongly, a firm from regulatory action or even a country from being exposed to criminality. And don’t forget, ALL of these impact upon both the public and the wider financial system.

So there we have it. Top 5 reasons to work in Compliance. Maybe you’re not interested, maybe you’d rather drive a train. That’s fine.

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Last updated: 18 Jun 2018

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