As a compliance officer, you are responsible for ensuring a company complies with its outside regulatory requirements and internal policies. In short, you are responsible for making sure that your employer plays by the rules.
Your role in compliance may vary as there are a number of specialist areas you may choose to pursue:
- financial crime
- product advisory
- regulatory affairs
- trade surveillance.
Employers of Compliance Officers
As a compliance professional, you have the opportunity to work in a broad range of industries as most sectors now face some level of regulation. These include:
- digital and technology
- environmental services
- financial services
- perform risk assessments to understand the level, significance and scope of risk
- keep up to date with, and understand, relevant laws and regulations
- monitor compliance with laws, regulations and internal policies
- ensure that your findings are recorded and followed up with management so that issues can be rectified
- educate employees on not only the regulations but also the impact to the organisation if these are not complied with
- investigate irregularities and non-compliance issues
- report back to business functions on current risk and compliance performance
- highlight or escalate areas of concern
- contribute to robust and effective compliance controls within the organisation
- review marketing materials, presentations and websites to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements
- assist in the gathering of internal information in response to regulatory requests
- perform various general administrative duties (such as file creation and maintenance of ongoing administrative projects).
- collaborate with other departments to create a culture of compliance.
People working in compliance do not always hold specific qualifications. Compliance is not an industry which is obsessed with where and what you studied.
However, as a general rule, there is a preference for numbers based degrees (such as economics), commercial degrees (such as business studies) or a law degree, but do not let this put you off as many employers are flexible and will accept any degree discipline.
- critical problem solving ability. You will often have to make decisions on the information available, which is not always black and white
- an ability to analyze and interpret information quickly (in some sectors such as trading, decisions need to be made within minutes)
- an interest in your chosen area. You are likely to be delving in to granular levels of detail as a compliance professional so you are more likely to enjoy the role if you have an interest in the sector. This should prove easy as compliance roles exist in almost all sectors from government and finance, to technology and the environment
- project management skills. You are likely to have to juggle a number of projects at one time.