Regulation jobs v Compliance jobs
There is a very faint line distinguishing regulatory roles from jobs in compliance as fundamentally they share a common goal. That goal is ensuring an organisation adheres to the relevant legal guidelines, policies, processes and specifications expected of its business.
For candidates delving into careers in regulation or regulatory affairs, as it is so described, the focus is on developing the regulatory compliance framework to ensure all regulations are being complied with. Meanwhile, a role in compliance deals more with the internal audit and risk management functions of the business. A purely compliance role looks at all policies and procedures whether regulatory or not.
Working in compliance comprises two main streams of thought, starting with the external element which sees an organisation managing the procedures imposed on them from outside. For example, a mining company will have a lot of regulation imposed on them around health, safety and sustainability. Then there’s the internal compliance factor which is ensuring a company is adhering to its own policies and procedures, some of which will be built around external regulations but others will be designed around strategic objectives of the organisation, from its working culture to the way it deals with the people who work within the business.
A compliance officer will work across the three lines of defence employed by every bank or financial organisation. Their goal is to keep the business, the risk management team and the internal audit function equally accountable every step of the way.
Regulation jobs within the financial services and banking sector also factor in the element of risk. In this way, candidates in some regulation jobs, particularly within banking, will be focusing on developing a regulatory strategy or regulatory compliance framework, designed to prevent the occurrence of another economic crisis. Meanwhile, other elements of regulation will be directed towards the needs of the consumer and the regulations in question will aim to keep financial firms and advisers in check to that end.
A job in regulation calls for a person to wear three hats: the adviser, the technician and the communications expert. Working for a regulator or within a regulatory framework will see you delivering regulatory advice in a consulting guise, working to implement support, monitoring and reviews of internal controls as well as writing up your recommendations relating to optimising regulatory strategy into coherent reports. Candidates working in regulation are expected to be self-motivated, adaptable and skilled in communication and able to influence key decision makers and stakeholders regarding matters of regulatory change.
Closely related to their regulatory counterparts, compliance professionals must demonstrate equal strength in analytical thinking and problem solving, communication and operational controls. However, while knowledge of and adherence to current and impending regulations is certainly a priority for someone working in compliance; their role extends to a wider spectrum of compliance activities. A compliance professional will identify any function and/or business practice within an organisation requiring a compliance program.
The program in question then becomes their responsibility to design, develop, implement, monitor and revise in line with the changing operational needs of the business. Company-wide training will also be the task of someone working in compliance to ensure all employees are complying with the relevant standards and guidelines set out by the compliance program for their industry sector.