Exciting developments afoot for the ICA Diploma in Compliance

Written by Jonathan Bowdler on Thursday June 26, 2014

The regulatory environment, and consequently the role of compliance, has changed significantly in recent years.  There has always been significant overlap between regulatory compliance and risk management - the compliance function’s fundamental purpose after all, is to manage the firm’s regulatory risk.  And more recently we have seen how a firm’s governance, culture and organisational behaviour are core to how all risk is managed within the firm. While annual updates have kept the ICA Diploma in Compliance/ICA International Diploma in Compliance fresh each year, we believe that the syllabus now needs to reflect the more holistic approach that firms are taking to regulatory risk. 

Consequently we are increasing the focus on governance and risk management in this year’s update and this is reflected in the new qualification title, ‘ICA Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance/ICA International Diploma in Governance, Risk & Compliance’.  You will see from the new unit titles below which are currently being developed, that greater emphasis is being placed on key topics such as risk management, corporate governance, ethics, integrity and organisational culture.  These topics are already a part of the existing syllabus and therefore this is not a completely new qualification, rather a significant refresh in response to today’s regulatory environment.

By enhancing areas of the syllabus we have also had to consider which areas to trim down to maintain the same overall academic level and commitment required to obtain the Diploma.  Therefore some of the more technical detail concerning financial crime, including anti money laundering, has been removed to reflect the fact that in most medium/large sized firms today, the disciplines of compliance and AML have been separated (and ICA offers a full suite of financial crime prevention and AML qualifications for those specialising in those areas).  However the new course will still include a full unit on financial crime prevention to allow for those firms where the disciplines are still managed together. Financial crime prevention is, after all, a critical area requiring compliance oversight and subsequently robust understanding and knowledge by the compliance professional.

At this time this syllabus development will only apply at Diploma level since the knowledge requirements of students at Certificate and Advanced Certificate level tend to be more focused on the fundamentals of compliance, with governance and risk management becoming more important as they progress to more senior roles.

Work in progress units titles for the ICA Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance/ICA International Diploma in Compliance are:

  • Unit 1 - Defining governance, risk and compliance:
  • Unit 2 - Ethics, integrity and organisational culture – taking GRC to the next level
  • Unit 3 - The importance of understanding the complete regulatory environment picture
  • Unit 4 - Understanding how corporate governance underpins the whole GRC framework
  • Unit 5 - How to effectively manage regulatory risk
  • Unit 6 - What is the role of the compliance function?
  • Unit 7 - How to design effective GRC systems and control
  • Unit 8 - Managing the risk of financial crime

It is both and exciting and challenging time to be a compliance professional and ICA is working to maintain their position at the cutting edge of professional training so that you are fully equipped with the knowledge, skills and understanding to be the very best compliance professional that you can be.  I am really looking forward to welcoming some of you to the very first workshop of the Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance this November.


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