Chief Compliance Officers Dinner Debate: An Oversight Starter
Dinner Debate: An Oversight Starter
I recently hosted a roundtable dinner attended by a diverse range of chief compliance officers and, as you might imagine, the discussion centred around compliance, data governance and the shake-up that is ongoing in the field. While the dinner was held under Chatham House Rules I wanted to share some of the themes that were discussed and reflect on the wide-ranging conversation we had. This week I’ll be looking at compliance oversight.
For context compliance oversight within financial institutions is an extremely complex issue and is continually weighed down by siloed, manual processes that are inefficient to oversee and manage. An ever changing regulatory landscape and intrusive supervision over the last decade has compounded this issue further. However, I believe that at the very core of compliance lies three clear principles: communicate your obligations, understand your status and evidence your compliance.
It quickly became evident over dinner that chief compliance officers are currently struggling to see what work is being done across all compliance activities and projects. All seemed to be struggling at the first hurdle of good practice and trying to communicate their obligations clearly. The general consensus was that too much information is unfit for the purpose of executive oversight; it is often passed from management to senior executives in unsuitable formats that are not accounting for the change in audience. Consequently, the conversation highlighted the urgent need for clearer processes and methods on how to repackage data into reports.
As a result of this, there is a subsequent lack of challenge from senior executives to management - if you can’t understand something, you’re in no position to critique and improve it. This was highlighted by the regulator in attendance, who voiced their concern at a lack of evidence of both oversight and challenge within compliance. A number of institutions noted that they have ongoing projects to make reporting both more effective and more efficient, but at present, there is simply too much unclear reporting being accepted by senior executives which needs to change.
Despite the challenges that compliance officers face, the conversation was positive about the innovations that are entering the market. The attendees were in clear agreement that RegTech solutions have the potential to provide real value for money and allow compliance oversight to become more efficient.
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