Chapter 3: Running an Effective Compliance Program

Building Trust with Senior Management and the Board

In order for a compliance professional to be effective, it is important that the organization trusts the compliance professional’s judgment. Without that respect and trust, it will be difficult for a compliance professional to build consensus around the compliance professional’s recommendations to mitigate potential risk. If a compliance professional manages a department, it is important that the entire department has that same respect and trust within its organization. Accordingly, a compliance professional should design the department’s structure so there is an appropriate level of oversight throughout the department to ensure staff’s compliance recommendations also represent the department’s views on compliance matters.

A compliance officer’s role is to effectively influence the organization to comply with the applicable rules and regulations. It is not uncommon for some compliance departments to be labeled as another “enforcement agency” or thought of as policing the organization. A compliance function’s success is not dependent upon a single compliance professional or department, but the entire organization.

To accomplish this objective, it is important for a compliance professional to collaborate with applicable departments in helping solve business issues in a compliant manner. A compliance department should strive to be thought of as an important business partner and not an enforcer. While compliance professionals need to say no to business initiatives that do not comply with the rules, compliance professionals should also provide constructive feedback to the business on how it may be able to structure a business initiative in a compliant matter. By creating appropriate solutions to a business problem, the business department will further respect the compliance department and view it as part of its solution to resolve an issue.

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