Different Types of Compliance Jobs



When we talk about compliance, we’re referring to the business function that ensures an organisation adheres to external rules and internal controls. Within the financial services sector compliance teams must align the business with key regulatory objectives to protect investors and ensure the markets remain fair, efficient, and clear. They also work to reduce system risk and financial crime.

Compliance is a broad profession so to identify the types of roles you can find within its scope is not a simple task. In this article we look at three key areas in which compliance jobs hold rank, the primary type being regulatory and legal, followed by IT and financial.

Regulatory and Legal Compliance

Organisations are subject to ever-changing regulations set down by external regulators, which are often government agencies, stock exchanges or industry bodies. These will cover everything from the types of materials a company might use to their health and safety measures, not to mention the internal regulations that form part of the company’s infrastructure. Responsibilities that fall to a Regulatory Compliance Officer will be largely centred around writing policy and procedures based on regulations and existing and emerging legislation, and advising the company on how to interpret those policies. Their job is to ensure the business is compliant and meeting its obligations. Compliance Officers liaise with stakeholders and management to make sure these rules are being followed.

When looking for a new job in regulatory and legal compliance, having experience in a related industry to the compliance job you’re applying for is highly valuable as those working in regulatory compliance really need to understand how regulations affect the business. You need to be able to see the bigger picture in order to properly advise the organisation around regulatory issues to effectively ensure compliance.

This technical knowledge around regulations, understanding them and how to interpret them is key to a regulatory compliance role. In addition, the ability to look ahead and be pre-emptive regarding future regulations and how they may impact the organisation is equally important.

IT Compliance

With such strict penalties overshadowing business practice in this digital age, there is a need for strong compliance around data privacy and data protection. Organisations are subject to regulations such as GDPR in terms of the way they allow their employees to access, interact with and store data, the guidance around which IT compliance professionals will advise on. These professionals write policies and procedures aimed at securing the organisation’s records and data, and information management in order to sustain awareness and compliance throughout the business. Among other things, IT Compliance Officers advise the business on best practices around data, for example, server location. Customer record storage in an offshore location could make the company susceptible to data policy breaches regarding who has access to those records.

IT compliance professionals employ a risk-based approach when it comes to examining data governance standards and are responsible for implementing solutions designed to address any gaps in the company’s IT risk management strategy. They will also manage incident investigations with regards to cyber security and assess the relevant controls to ensure effective maintenance and to mitigate risk.

Candidates will typically come from a technology or IT background with experience in technological risk and cyber risk, as well as possessing an in-depth understanding of the relevant IT regulations and standards.

Financial Services Compliance

Compliance officers in the financial services sector could be targeting issues that fall under the financial crime compliance bracket and thus require experience and skills around AML (Anti-Money Laundering), fraud, sanctions, corruption, and anti-bribery. Then there is the more operational side, which feeds into the risk component – something that goes hand in hand with compliance – and this will see compliance professionals dealing with issues around internet banking, customers not paying required fees, managing investments and so on. They must implement the policy and procedure of the regulatory compliance team and convert that into the testing and controls of real world behaviour to capture breaches of that policy – examples include insider trading monitoring of your own staff or KYC/AML breach recording of your clients and customers transactions.

For candidates coming into financial or corporate compliance it is useful to have some experience in a risk and controls function, preferably with financial services exposure such as from a bank or a professional services firm, those coming from legal backgrounds are also very highly regarded. Skills in data and potentially fraud analytics will be beneficial, as well as having strong communication and stakeholder management skills. Compliance Officers and Analysts tend to possess an inquisitive mindset; they know the right questions to ask so as nothing is missed along the way. Being able to then put their findings and advice into words in a meeting or on paper is also a key soft skill, as is having a great eye for detail.


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