The new satisfaction of the compliance profession

POSTED ON: Sunday 12 Aug 2018 BY: RHT Academy

““In times gone by, compliance was seen as a backwater. 

Now the job of ensuring financial institutions play by the rules is rapidly growing in importance, driven by the tsunami of regulatory initiatives and substantial fines that followed the financial crisis of 2007-09.”[1]

This is true even on an anecdotal level, but, increasingly, research and data back up the statements regarding the growth, and subsequent importance, of compliance as a profession. In days gone by, compliance was a ‘job’, to be done as an intermediary option before moving into a more rewarding, and longer serving, career.

This view is changing and doing so rapidly. Not only are people more likely to join compliance as a professional career move, with firms helping this progress through the establishment of ‘Compliance Academies’ and career planning for staff. Compliance practitioners are also more likely to be well remunerated and to enjoy their job, things that, even a decade ago, would perhaps not have been viewed the same way.

A new report from BarkerGilmore[2], nicely summarised by Global Legal Post[3], investigates some of the questions around both satisfaction and remuneration of compliance professionals. In general, remuneration has continued to increase over recent years. Of course, the risk(s) involved in areas of regulatory work have also increased, along with the pressure to perform. This ties in to the adage regarding higher risk, higher reward.

However, it isn’t just that pay has gone up. Levels of satisfaction appear to be on the rise too. Of course, not every sector is the same, and it’s clear some of shine has rubbed off sectors such as financial services. This is noticeable across the industry in numerous countries, and not just in compliance.

As compliance, not only as a function but as a professional are of work, becomes better recognised, so too do compliance practitioners get a higher level of independence, accountability, and reward for doing a job well done. The industry still needs to move away from considering a compliance job well done to mean ‘we didn’t get fined’, but the strides are at least moving in the right direction.

There are still issues, of course. These are not confined to compliance, but the gaps between male/female pay are still unacceptably large.

“In terms of gender, on average female compliance professionals earn 72 per cent of their male counterpart’s earnings. The gap is largest at the chief compliance officer level, where females earn only 65 per cent of the total compensation that their male counterparts earn.”

This will, and indeed must, change as time progresses. There is no reason pay should be different for people doing the same job, and there are plenty of excellent female compliance practitioners.

Reports like this offer good, positive news for the compliance professional, and the practitioners who fill it. Hopefully in years to come this trend will continue, as the industry grows, and companies continue to see the business benefit of a strong, accountable, independent, compliance function.