If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance”, commented former US deputy attorney general Paul McNulty some years ago when ruminating on why regulatory compliance is an issue that companies should treat with the utmost respect.

Now as then, complying with a continuous flow of rules and regulations that may well extend across regional, national and international borders can be complex and clamorous – a stringent requirement that should not be underestimated, no matter how large, small or diversified a company may be.

In the US, at a time when the new administration has made noises toward significantly shaking up the regulatory landscape, how companies respond to a complex web of constantly evolving rules and regulations – which have the potential to subject them to enforcement actions and fines, as well as the not inconsiderable matter of reputational risk – is a critical determination.

Providing a roundup of many of the regulatory compliance issues currently bedevilling companies is the KPMG report ‘The compliance journey: boosting the value of compliance in a changing regulatory climate’. It explores the extent of the regulatory uncertainty, how well extant challenges are being met and the range of compliance enhancements that companies are at liberty to consider when planning future strategies.

That said, according to KPMG, the current regulatory uncertainty in the US is making it challenging for companies’ chief compliance officers (CCOs) to identify where to prioritise their compliance efforts. Shifts and changes in regulatory policy are clear from the 140 “midnight” regulations passed by Barack Obama in the final days of his presidency, which have been followed by the Trump administration’s intent to lessen regulation.

Jul-Sep 2017 Issue

Fraser Tennant