Diary of a compliance officer: Are you scared to speak out?
20 Oct 2017

Looking at the day-to-day aspects of a compliance officers’ work, the compliance section looks at some very important parts of the banks’ operations, such as integrity of the work and ensuring the organisation adheres to national and global regulations.

In my work place there are a number of such policies that are looked after in the compliance section. But the policies are one side of the game, and there are also other aspects to bring it alive which we are looking at presently. These include training delivery and instilling a sound corporate and compliance culture.

There are a couple of interesting strands that we are looking at presently – encouraging all staff to speak up, not be afraid to open up, and setting a tone from the top.

Speaking out is really something that is key to compliance officers and just about anyone in the organisation.

It is the fact that if you see something, then say something rather than shoving it under the carpet or hoping it will go away.

Are there are times when compliance officers for various reasons might decide not to speak up?

Generally, yes – in the public and private sector, there are times when this is the case for anyone within the organisation.

Indeed, compliance officers do sometimes have a difficult ride, whereby they see something and know that their reporting will have repercussions on others or on operations.

Also, for example, there is usually tension, which is supposed to be healthy tension, between the regulatory requirements and the business risks on the one hand, and then the compliance work on the other hand.

Confronting business risk and compliance is important as an operation could be put off due to findings from the compliance people.

In some work places there may arise a situation where the business or marketing side may not want to give up a high-value operation because of compliance risks.

Whatever the case, it is quite important to speak up at an early stage, to raise the issues of concern when something arises and hence identify the issues early on.

Pierre Antheaume is a compliance officer with the European Investment Bank. He wrote this article in his personal capacity.

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