Results of Accenture’s 2016 Compliance Risk Study are in, and the data points to new concerns and challenges for the compliance function. Our study interviewed more than 150 compliance leaders, at banks, capital markets firms and insurance institutions in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The overarching conclusion is that compliance leaders should push toward delivering tangible, sustainable outcomes, reasserting its strategic role in the organization.

Complicating matters is another finding of the study: Demand on compliance is growing, in both scale and complexity, for these reasons:

  • New technology is driving competitive pressure on institutions to become multi-channel providers—opening the door to new compliance risks around privacy, cyber risk and customers.
  • Likewise, new technology raises expectations for the compliance function to manage these emerging risks.
  • Regulations are springing up at all levels, resulting in a “multi-local” balancing act to meet regulations in all jurisdictions.
  • The function operates with a data and technology architecture that lags the standards required to manage these emerging risks.

What does this mean for compliance leaders? Our study found 67 percent of them citing improvement to systems and adoption of new tools as critical for the function to move forward. Skill set also is a priority. Almost half (44 percent) of respondents say skill development will be critical in the next year.

View the image.
View the image.

But at times, the pressure on compliance leaders can get personal. Regulations increasingly impose personal liability on officers for organizational behavior and conduct. Compliance officers face a balancing act, juggling traditional and new demands to support a successful function.

In my next post I’ll focus on the compliance function’s stature within the organization. For more information in the meantime, see the 2016 Compliance Risk Study.

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