THE ROLE OF GENERAL COUNSEL AND CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER

In the years since the onset of the financial crisis, the global regulatory landscape has changed significantly. For companies operating in the financial services sector in particular, the proliferation and increasing ubiquity of regulatory bodies, and the ever-more onerous nature of regulation, has forced companies to establish and respect a sound and robust compliance framework.

Compliance and compliance reporting have evolved into important issues for companies operating in the modern business environment. To this end, managing the compliance process has come a long way over the last decade.

A firm’s attitude toward risk and compliance should be dictated and strictly managed by the company’s leadership. The tone at the top must be disseminated down to the firm’s staff in an effective, efficient and timely manner. To assist the process, an army of compliance professionals has emerged. Having previously fallen under the purview of the general counsel (GC) and the wider legal function, the chief compliance officer (CCO) and his or her team have become key to negotiating the various pitfalls of today’s regulatory environment.

On the back of a number of regulatory and legislative developments, such as 2002’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the CCO has swiftly become one of a company’s most important assets. Overseeing the firm’s general compliance obligations, and providing independent feedback to the company’s chief executive, the CCO helps to form the backbone of a company’s response to regulatory pressures.

Jan-Mar 2015 Issue

Richard Summerfield