Understanding the technical nature of a federal business regulation is only half the battle when it comes to corporate compliance, four compliance officers said during a recent panel discussion held at Fordham University.
Those tasked with ensuring a firm’s adherence to federal financial industry guidelines must understand the spirit of the rule as well, the panel said.
The four officers – Jacqueline LiCalzi and Cassandra Lentchner of Morgan Stanley, Michael Herde of Fidelity Investments and Bari Havlik of Charles Schwab – spoke to a gathering of Gabelli School of Business students and faculty members on “The Changing Role of Compliance: Past, Present and Future” in November.
All agreed that corporate compliance is a growing field in need of diverse skill sets. Good writers, researchers and communicators are needed. Explaining to both employees and C-suite executives the changing landscape of federal regulations is a challenge, they said.
How swiftly is the compliance field changing? Since the 2008 recession, new rules and regulations are being proposed and passed in large numbers – about 250 in the past five years alone. Increased numbers of compliance personnel are needed to monitor, interpret and apply to corporate practices the new rules.
In the end, a compliance officer must be concerned with several things: How will a rule affect clients? How will it affect employees and what they do? How will regulators see the rule? How will it affect the firm’s shareholders?
Protecting the dreams of a customer, who is saving for some future purpose, is paramount. And the compliance work must be done proactively, the panelists said. Once regulators and litigators are involved, it’s too late.
Each panelist agreed that the opportunity to stop a problem from developing in the first place was an attractive reason to enter compliance.