Experts from different compliance climates across the globe have said infractions within the organised and private sectors are a function of weak compliance systems.
The industry experts made the agreement at the just concluded week-long congress facilitated by the International Federation of Compliance Associations (IFCA), the umbrella body for professional bodies involved in the practice of compliance.
They stressed the need to get compliance officers to understand the salient issues affecting their productivity.
Tagged: ‘Beyond Compliance: Propelling Compliance Professionals to Greater Heights,’ the conference attracted a cross-section of experts from the financial and allied expertise who shared various perspectives on how to contain fraud within the public and organised spheres, including Compliance Institute, Nigeria (CIN), Association Columbia de Intergridad Etica Y Compliance (ACIE) and the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland (ACOI).
Speaking at the event, senior regional compliance officer at Money Gram (Africa), Nneka Gloria Nwaka, who led one of the panel discussions suggested probable ways to lead, persuade, motivate, and how to be a role model in the compliance world.
According to her, “When we say Compliance is everybody’s business, this is not a slogan that we chant at compliance training.
bers need to understand their role in the compliance program, they need to understand that when they are carrying out compliance risk management processes, they are not helping the compliance team in head office, nor are they doing it to get the compliance officers off their back. They actually own the risk on their desk and they need to see it as part of doing their job.”
“The role of a compliance officer,” she stressed, “was never meant to be that of a micromanager. If the compliance program would only work if the staff members are in the office, then there is something either wrong with the programme or the staff members. Remember that even before the new normal, for most organisations, the compliance officer has always been seated in the HQ while you have staff members in different places having to carry out their responsibilities. I do not foresee that this process will change.”
National compliance association Russia, Dmitry Kurganov also said there is a need to have a zero-tolerance approach as well as create an effective whistleblowing policy to aid the anti-corruption war.
Also speaking in one of the sessions, founder and managing director of DataPro Limited, Nigeria’s first indigenous AML/CFT compliance and training firm, Abimbola Adeseyoju stated that at the centre of the issue of weak compliance, especially within the oraganised private sector is failure to see compliance as part of a transformation process by compliance officers just as he identified uncertainties, lack of resources, inefficient regulatory system, stressing that this is a big problem that affects productivity.
Chief compliance officer at Coronation Merchant Bank, Ibrahim Bello, who also spoke at the event said ‘‘compliance is simply complying to the rules and regulations that guides the operation of an activity, process, business or people. A Compliance officer is an expert in AML/CFT, Regulations and regulatory dispositions with knowledge in the industry, business, and global best practices.’’
Ibrahim described the ideal Compliance officer as with these sterling qualities, ‘‘Knowledgeable, a natural self-starter, Meticulous, Assertive, armed with Organisation and presentation skills,Trustworthy and be a good negotiator’’
Highlighting the rather common misconceptions about Compliance, Bello stated that, ‘ People think compliance like the police, Compliance is always investigating employees, Compliance does not understand business, and that Compliance officers cannot be trusted.’’
He however stated that for the ideal Compliance department to be Operational, it must, ‘‘Implement and monitor compliance policies and procedures; train employees on compliance and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, conduct due diligence, monitor transactions, management, board and regulatory reporting, whilst also managing corrective actions for breaches and Interpreting regulations/regulatory expectations to the business’’
Adeseyoju who also doubles as the chairman partnership & communications committee of the compliance institute was, however, quick to add that unless concerted efforts are being made by the organisation as far as compliance implementation is concerned a lot of the issues would remain unresolved.
Similarly, Linus Osita Okere who leads the forensic and integrity within Africa at Ernst and Young, said, “The fear of victimisation and retaliation responsible for staff not blowing the whistle on corruption within the system. From my own experience, I have come to identify other reasons such as when the reporting channel is not anonymous, lack of trust in the system, issues of past reports not addressed, misconduct in the corporate environment, the issue of camaraderie, and lack of reward system.”
Other attendants at the conference are: Compliance Institute Southern Africa (CISA), Association Mexicana de IntegridadY Compliance (AMEXICOM), Peruvian Association of Ethics and Compliance (APEC), Ethics Compliance Switzerland (ECS), Argentina Association of Ethics and Compliance (AAEC), to mention just a few.