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Written by Grant Gooding on Tuesday May 6, 2014
Transforming lives is not normally in a compliance person’s job description, but here in CAF Bank, our work allows charities to flourish and enable their transformational work. I’ve always given to charity, so this role sits very well with my own ethos.
I started in January and from the first week, I was involved in areas new to me. The day usually starts before 8am with a review of regulatory news. From then on in, each day is rich and varied. I could be reviewing short-term capital treatment of securities, preparing papers on the regulatory risk issues or answering questions on how to respond to a complex customer scenario. My day continues to about 6pm. At home, I often sort out compliance research material for the projects I’m working on.
When I joined, I was struck by how friendly and cooperative people were. This is down to, in part, the fact that appropriate behaviours as well as objectives are considered important. I’m proud to say that here is a genuine emphasis on treating customers fairly and doing the right thing. Of course, as I’m sure is the case in other regulated firms, we occasionally have our own internal debates about how that can be best achieved! I’ve also found that having lunch in the staff area has helped me to meet some of the other people in the building and engage with them in a less formal (non- Compliance Manager) way.
I am fortunate to work with two dedicated compliance officers reporting to me, who undertake the detailed compliance monitoring. The operational risk areas tend to be well controlled, therefore enabling us to focus on any non-standard issues which may arise.
I also have a few longer-term projects to get my teeth into, such as conduct risk and FATCA.
In terms of approach, I’m very much a believer in the ‘new’ compliance ethos - moving compliance work away from a tick-box and/or bureaucratic approach, to something much more orientated to the genuine regulatory risks.
CAF Bank is a commercial bank in every sense; however, having customers as charities means that we have developed our systems and customer experience around that, such as uniquely having a dual authorisation payment system, which enables charities to send payments only after two persons in the charity have authorised the payment - payment cards (e.g. debit cards) normally only require one person to authorise.
I’m touched by how much management do for staff. Every week there’s a new initiative for staff from reflexology & Indian head massages to “The Great British Soak Off” – fundraising for an ECMO machine (which helps people breathe in an emergency if they have severe difficulties).
Overall, working for CAF Bank has been enjoyable and fulfilling in every sense of the word. The supportive environment created by the management of CAF is a tremendous asset in developing a culture in which ‘doing the right thing’ can flourish.
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