A compliance office ensures that the rules and regulations of its organization followed properly. The compliance officer is employed within the compliance office to ensure that the employees and management handle things appropriately.
There are several areas in which compliance officers work, but at this point in time the majority of compliance offices and compliance officers are found in the financial area. Due to new regulations and policies, the financial and banking industries need to ensure 100% compliance. Other areas mostly in governmental bodies also have compliance officers. These officers are employed to ensure that regulations, rules, policies and laws are adhered to. They are also present to ensure the safety of each individual employed.
Many of these positions are filled internally with present employees only due to the fact that the current employees have a very good working knowledge of the business as well as the corporation or organization. Competition for entry level positions is intense.
Compliance Officer Job Responsibilities
The main part of a compliance officer’s job is to prevent unethical, illegal or improper conduct in an organization. They need to be able to interact with people from other areas and communicate effectively with them the issues that are related to compliance. The compliance officer also can assist investigation and resolution of any problems using existing resources. The compliance officer can also take legal advice from the corporate attorney of the organization when they are dealing with difficult issues.
A compliance officer may have other roles in addition to being a compliance office such as a privacy officer, community reinvestment act officer or bank security and safety. As standards of conduct are constantly updated, there needs to be a periodic review carried out by the compliance officer to ensure continued compliance and accuracy.
The compliance officer will begin the investigation process when there is a violation or suspected violation of a regulation, policy, rule or procedure. If the compliance officer observes any type of vulnerability or risk within the compliance program, he or she needs to create a plan for corrective action. It is also the responsibility of the compliance officer to help the members of the committee avoid further risks in the future.
The compliance officer monitors the activities of all other departments to identify possible trends both good and bad. They also carry out evaluations of the compliance activities throughout the company or organization and provide reviews. This keeps the processes under control and running smoothly. The compliance officer also has the duty of reporting violations to the appropriate enforcement agencies including those that are suspected will happen in the future.
Compliance Officer Training and Education Requirements
For a compliance officer, most positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Additional post graduate education is also a plus. The actual educational requirements will vary from one institution to another. For example, some institutions may require a law degree for their compliance officers. For most of these positions, two to four years of related experience is usually required, although there are a few beginner positions available.
Being a compliance officer requires some special individual skills and personality traits as well. Things such as excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are definitely a plus for this position. Other skills include organizational skills, computer literacy with experience in word processing and accounting programs, excellent research skills and a good knowledge regarding financial institution policies are necessary for success.
In addition, a compliance officer should have the ability to read and correctly interpret trade journals, government regulations and legal documents. They must also have the ability to respond appropriately to inquiries from courts, regulatory agencies and outside consultants. In addition, a professional certification or licensing is also a plus for this field.
Compliance Officer Salary and Wages
Salaries for a compliance officer vary and are determined by many factors. These can include years of experience, geographic location, and size of the institution as well as type of institution. When a compliance officer holds a full time position in a larger institution or who manage more than just the compliance office are usually paid more than those in smaller institutions or who have few job responsibilities. The average salary range for a compliance office is from about $42,000 to $67,000. The median salary is $53,000.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Compliance Officer Certifications
There are certifications available to compliance officers which includes the ABA Certified Regulatory Compliance manager designation. Due to the sensitive nature of the position, there are only a handful of recognized certifications at this time.
Compliance Officer Professional Associations
Normally compliance officers are not members of labor unions as professional workers. There are professional associations available for them to be a part of for career advancement and networking. These can include associations such as the American Institute of Banking.