C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E - an acronym for compliance professionals

Written by Morven Grierson on Tuesday March 27, 2012

As compliance professionals we all strive to save our businesses from the expense and reputational damage that comes with regulatory censure, but how do we get our businesses to understand and buy in to the value that we add to their bottom line?

C = Culture

Facilitating a culture of good practice and continuous improvement within your organisation through training, advice and performance management will help the business achieve its objectives and ward off those dreaded customer complaints and regulatory intervention.

R = Risk Management

Help your business identify the compliance risks to their strategy and objectives and put controls in place to manage those risks.  Effective risk management will help you to manage change quicker and keep your business ahead of the competition.  
The FSA are focusing on this at the moment and if you are a small business expect a call from them soon to discuss the way you manage risk.

E = Education

Get qualified in your specialist area.  If you are an experienced practitioner, obtaining recognition from a professional body, like the ICA, is a great way to evidence that you know what you’re talking about, it should also add weight to your recommendations when trying to negotiate the best solutions for your business, and don’t stop at a Compliance type qualification, get qualified in other areas of your business such as financial planning, so that you can argue your point from a technical viewpoint also.

D = Define Strategy

Your knowledge of changing regulations and how they affect your firm will assist your business in defining their strategy for the future.  Take the Retail Distribution Review for example.  The first consultation on this was in 2006, giving firms around 6 years to plan for the changes, define their business strategy and implement the necessary changes, keeping you way ahead of your competitors.

I = Influence Decision Making

To ensure that top-down culture of compliance is facilitated your presence in high level meetings is paramount.  Your ability to influence the decisions made in your organisation can help prevent costly mistakes further down the line and a presence in strategic business meetings, such as Board, Sales and Marketing and Investment Committees, will help you to deliver tailored compliance advice to the business in a timely manner.

B = Business Acumen

Break away from the old stereotype of ‘policing’ your business.  Show your business that you understand what they are trying to achieve and help them to achieve it.  Give them real solutions to regulatory and compliance issues and they will begin to see your value.  
Knowledge of business strategy, objectives, service and product will help you to understand where you can make a difference.

L = Leadership

It is up to you to lead and manage your compliance team effectively so that they provide a useful service to the business and understand what direction to take.  Promote your team through notice boards, training and communications to the business.  Help the business to understand your input to operations to encourage them to approach you the next time they see a potential compliance problem.

E = Expect the Unexpected

Show your business that you are a well-oiled machine, prepared to deal with those unexpected risks that crop up now and again.  Your ability to deal with FSA intervention or customer complaints and get a good result for the business should add credibility to your department.

And if none of the above helps alert your business to that well utilised method adopted by the FSA “Credible Deterrence” .  Enforcement actions taken on similar firms to yours should hopefully make the business realise the consequences of not employing an effective compliance function.

Morven Grierson is a professional member of the ICA and a Compliance Manager at S4 Financial Ltd


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