Compliance officers perform a crucial role in any financial company, but what do they do with their days and how is the role changing?

There aren’t many children who tell their parents they want to be compliance officers. Indeed, there are plenty of people within a firm who might look down on them – giving them the slightly derogatory term ‘business prevention department’. However, that’s not quite right. Most would see it as business preservation and in an increasingly fast-moving regulatory environment, their role has become more important than ever.

Just look at some of the plates compliance officers have to keep spinning: MiFiDII, PRIIPS, GDPR and other regulations all have an impact on business operations and create uncertainty. New technologies such as cloud computing and AI open up a host of opportunities but also create compliance risk. Ensuring a company stays the right side of the law is daunting.

A typical day

The first thing to do is reiterate the one thing many compliance officers tell us: “there’s no such thing as a typical day”. In general, you may find yourself answering queries across the company which run along the lines of ‘can I do this’, but there is no way to be certain about what specific challenges might crop up.

Throughout the day, you could find yourself confronting issues such as:

· Monitoring activities against procedures.

· Giving advice or interpreting regulations that a company must abide with.

· Reviewing client files.

· Addressing risk.

· Inspecting marketing materials and giving approval before they are released.

· Attending meetings and managing regulatory reporting.

· Preparing compliance reports for the board.

· Screening clients, checking sanctions.

· Developing training programmes for people across the organisation.

The main job of a compliance officer is to manage risk and that means monitoring everything a company does.

Events can be fast-moving, so the first thing many officers do in the morning before they get to work is check their emails to get an inkling about what the day might throw their way.

Keeping up with the news

As a compliance officer, you need to understand the latest state of the risk environment, which means keeping up with the news and reading the latest developments in the world of compliance.

This is why so many officers use our Regulatory Intelligence Platform. It amalgamates the latest news and information into one place, ensuring officers have their fingers firmly on the pulse at all times.

This screenshot shows the dashboard which highlights the latest daily news and insights from leading experts.

As you can see this includes latest news, penalties, speeches and guidance from regulators such as the FCA. It’s a great way to put all the information you need, as a compliance officer, in one place at your fingertips.

Moreover, it provides access to leading experts through our insights section. This screenshot shows contributions from experts on topics such as GDPR and the impact of Brexit and implications arising from the prohibition of the Co-operative’s former chairman Paul Flowers.

Success as a compliance officer means understanding the many and complex issues arising from regulatory change. Some of these can appear contradictory. For example, GDPR gives clients the right to be forgotten while MiFiDII requires companies to keep full and extensive records of their interactions with clients.

Officers will then need to effectively communicate issues to different departments to ensure there is complete buy-in across the organisation. How easy this is depends on how committed to regulatory compliance a company is. Those which are will be eager to get on board. Those which are not will view you as policing – perhaps even prohibiting – their work.

Challenges come from all directions. They mean that any compliance officer worth his or her salt will take on a central role in company operations. Gone are the days – if they ever existed – when this was simply a box ticking exercise. Today they add real value and security to a company.