Q: Can a compliance position offer an in-house lawyer more than a policeman-like role? Our expert, Nicholas Behringer, legal and compliance consultant at Naiman Clarke examines the question.
A: Some of the most successful compliance professionals are armed with law degrees that provide them with a sound understanding of their organisation's regulatory environment, an ability to communicate effectively and to command attention. Increasingly, boards of leading organisations are seeing the value in engaging talented and highly paid compliance professionals from legal backgrounds to assist in the development of sophisticated compliance programs.
These programs set boundaries for the organisation to ensure that voluntary and involuntary obligations are achieved. The "enforcement" of compliance programs has been delegated to line managers enabling compliance professionals to develop and improve the compliance framework and ensure that the organisation achieves and maintains its competitive advantage.
Compliance teams are no longer being seen as the handbrake to the success of a business, but are increasingly being viewed as valuable assets for growing organisations, especially those that operate in multi-jurisdictions. As the fallout from the GFC continues to rattle financial markets, organisations with sophisticated strategic compliance frameworks, policies and procedures are withstanding these uncertain economic times. Now that compliance is shedding its police uniform it might be time that for lawyers to re-evaluate their views on compliance and consider the skills they could bring to your organisation's compliance team.