Compliance

Resources for Improving Compliance Department Operations

  • What is Compliance?

    The Compliance Group trains and oversees all employees to assure that all facets of the organization meet standards to guard against potential risk related to ‘non-compliance.’ Compliance policies and standards could be related to federal or state law, software and programming specifications, moral/ethical values or internal company culture. The Compliance Group drafts, distributes and enforces policies to mitigate any potential risks that they identify.
  • The History of Compliance

    Modern compliance activities began in the early 20th century when food health and safety organizations began to emerge (the Food and Drug Administration). Dedicated compliance departments and the position of Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) are relatively recent developments. As late as the 1990s, compliance with company regulations and various local or federal laws was generally the responsibility of the corporate legal department and the Chief General Counsel. Increased concern for corporate governance, coupled with expanding regulations, required a more defined role to manage the growing internal and external regulations that businesses faced. Beginning in financial services during the 1980s, compliance departments and CCOs increased enforcement of company policy and worked hard to ensure compliance with legal regulation.
  • Modern Trends in Compliance

    Compliance departments play a powerful role in corporate governance. Public knowledge of corporate fraud, especially related to the Enron and WorldCom scandals, has greatly increased governmental pressure on corporations to implement and enforce compliant practices. Further regulation of business practices, including the Sarbanes-Oxley (2002) and Dodd-Frank (2010) Acts, has tightened standards and enhanced the position and importance of corporate compliance. One major challenge that compliance groups face is data collection and retention. The government demands that certain data are promptly and accurately reported, increasing the pressure on internal groups (especially within finance and banking) to maintain and manage all data sources for reporting purposes.

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