The Era of the Compliance Officer

The Era of the Compliance Officer

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The Era of the Compliance Officer


Performing a simple Google Trends search on regulatory compliance one realises that there is a steady increase in global searches for the term to the tune of around 50% in the last 5 years. Google Trends is always a good gauge for showing exactly that, trends, but the intrusion of this previously specialised and somewhat forgotten field is evident by many indicators.

For example, around 9% of new job listings in popular job search websites are on Regulatory Compliance vacancies, a number that is actually consistent with the percentage of professionals working in positions relevant to regulatory compliance in the Financial and Professional Services Sectors (around 10%). These positions include compliance officers, internal auditors, onboarding officers, and AML compliance officers.

But why is that? Why this dramatic increase in demand? It all comes down to the new post-crisis regulation regime. Since 2012, the need for compliance officers in Europe and globally has increased exponentially due to the introduction of a plethora of regulations whose goal was to ensure that the turmoil following the recent financial crisis can be alleviated and to introduce a new wave of consumer protection schemes which translate to stricter compliance control of financial services firms.

What analysts also identified following the crisis is the need for a cultural change within institutions to place the primary responsibility for managing compliance risk to the firms, encouraging firms to have a clear focus for delivery of the regulatory outcomes. As a result, the compliance department should not be considered as a mere cost centre in a firm anymore, but instead as a firewall that protects the company from fines, sanctions and other measures stemming from the lack of regulatory compliance.

So this is the era for the Compliance Officer, as was put recently by the Director of Statistics and Chief Economist of the Bank of England, since according to his estimates, around 70,000 new compliance jobs will open up in Europe following the crisis. The need for compliance support increases if we also consider newly introduced regulations following Basel III, MiFID II, Financial Reporting Standards, Taxation issues, AML 4th Directive, Data Protection, Insurance and so on.

Our own experience in the sector shows that this is the hottest subject at this moment, with head-hunters and recruitment agencies stating that they receive constant requests for Compliance Officers from Financial and Professional Services Firms.


The EIMF is offering a course titled Global Financial Compliance Certificate which also prepares participants to sit the CISI examinations of the same name.