Compliance Is Like A Hospital

Managing a department like Compliance is tricky. I’m not saying anything new, I hope. If it is news to you, then you have some catching up to do. With all of the various functions and subject matter experts, managing the department might benefit from a similarly complex organization that has been managing itself or more than a century longer than Compliance: Hospitals.

Say what you will about the broken healthcare system of the US, it still saves lives and keeps non-compliance to a minimum. How does this happen? Part of it is culture. Many receive the call to the profession because they want to do good in the world. And then there is a respect for people’s expertise. The human body is so complicated, no one person can know enough about a single area to save every life. For that matter, there is a competition to solve the most difficult problems that hinder or kill lives. Lastly, there are serious consequences to the professional who is found to be misbehaving.

Compliance, as a profession needs to do all of these things, but there are things a manager can do right now. Since issues of mindset does not require industry-wide scale of economy to work, a manager should:

  1. discuss the goals of compliance on a regular basis to instill a sense of moral calling,
  2. show respect to employees who know a product, function, business, subject matter better than you,
  3. give freedom to employees to work while holding them accountable for their decisions and actions.

Professionalizing the department this way will make a big difference in finding and keeping the right talent.

About the Author: Marcus Maltempo is a compliance professional with more than a decade of experience helping banks, law firms and clients manage investigations and regulatory responses. He is the author of the forthcoming book History of Money Laundering: How criminals got paid and got away.

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