What Does a Compliance Officer Do?
The financial services industry is controlled by a multitude of rules and regulations and Compliance Officers are brought in to ensure companies are adhering to these regulations, not only set out by governing bodies, but also the company’s internal policies and procedures. The overall role of a Compliance Officer is to be the ethical heartbeat of a company whilst maintaining and improving the overall compliance and risk management function within a business.
What are the Responsibilities of a Compliance Officer?
The main focus of a Compliance Officer is to stay up to date with the policy and procedures of the company they are working with and to stay up to date with current market trends and new and existing legislation.
On any given day, your responsibilities could include:
- Keeping abreast of new and current legislation that could affect the business.
- Preparing internal reports to various boards, committees, regulators and trustees, both internally and externally.
- Investigating any possible compliance issues and address how these could be rectified.
- Rolling out and maintaining the company’s policies and procedures in adherence to government legislation.
- Advising on matters that relate to the company’s Code of Ethics.
- Ensuring all employees receive relevant training so that the business remains compliant.
Requirements to Become a Compliance Officer
In terms of an undergraduate qualification, there are different routes that can be taken and that would be either a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Business Science or Law.
From there it would be beneficial to complete your Postgraduate Diploma in Compliance Management.
Entering into a Compliance Officer role straight out of university is unlikely, as individuals would need to gain practical experience, so graduates are likely to start out in a Junior Risk Analyst position, which opens them up to various career paths – Compliance Officer being one of them.
Then with some time spent and experience gained in a compliance-related role, you would then complete certain courses/certificates to become a certified Compliance Practitioner as recognised by the Compliance Institute of Southern Africa.
Is a Compliance Role Right for You?
The regulatory environment is one that is ever-changing, and never dull. It allows you to be involved in the majority of any business’s activities, as you get to work with most teams within a business and need to gain a holistic view of how the business operates to fully understand what they do and why they do things. If you are someone who is interested in driving a business’s ethical standpoint whilst being prepared for every day looking a bit different and the role constantly evolving, then a compliance job might be ideal for you.