Top 5 Traits of Successful Compliance Professionals

Top 5 traits of successful compliance professional


Straight off the bat, what makes a successful compliance professional is one who aims right for the top of the figurative tree, Chief Compliance Officer. With that goal in mind, one can fine tune his or her compliance instincts and qualities to reach the fullest of their potential. Candidates applying for compliance jobs should possess the following key traits if success is their end-game.

Be Business Savvy

Perhaps coming from a background in business and/or business operations, individuals looking to work in compliance should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of how the business they are applying to works, in addition to the goals of those at the head of the business. This quality gives compliance professionals an edge because the key here is that in the face of regulatory changes and measures, those individuals with sharp business acumen will be able to offer solutions astutely in line with business objectives that ultimately steer the organisation free of the regulatory danger zone.

Disciplined Communicator

It is a real skill to not only communicate effectively with people across the business in order to shape opinion and drive change, but also to know when to stay silent and allow the other party to talk. It sounds incredibly simple but having this communicative discipline in a compliance role is crucial to making it a success.

A Head for Technology

It takes a certain type of person to interact effectively with technology, and as someone working in compliance it’s important for that person to understand how technology can be utilised to capture and manipulate data to support decisions being made in real time. This quality is particularly vital for compliance professionals working in financial services where many large enterprises are tackling money laundering and financial crimes with a need for a strong compliance presence to protect their data and evaluate their risk.

Lateral Thinker

It’s important in compliance roles to think creatively, because there is no one size fits all when it comes to compliance regulations. Rather regulations arise in response to preventing past events from recurring, thus successful compliance professionals will always be one step ahead in order that they shouldn’t miss something based on the fact that the original inquiry was too narrowly focused.


Extending from the relationships you will build with key business stakeholders and board members to the way you approach your daily roster of tasks, being proactive is a must for someone hoping to be a successful compliance officer. With this comes the need for self-confidence and an inquisitive nature as you root out the answers you require in your thorough research of regulations which have the potential to affect your organisation. So too that confidence is key when liaising with regulatory agencies, particularly as the compliance officer will often find the answers are not in the regulations themselves and thus he or she must have the self-assurance to examine the regulatory circumstances, identify areas of risk and draw his or her own conclusions as to the effectiveness of the business’ compliance program.

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