The constantly changing compliance landscape can be daunting for financial institutions. New laws and regulations are continually being introduced, and it can be challenging to keep up. However, compliance is essential to a financial institution’s operations, and steps can be taken to ensure effective management.
The compliance experts at Pathlock are here with their top tips for financial institutions to navigate their compliance management journey.
What is Compliance?
Compliance in the financial world refers to following regulations set by government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). These laws are designed to protect investors from fraud or manipulation and to ensure that markets function fairly.
There are numerous compliance risks that financial institutions face daily. These risks can come from various sources, including new regulations, changes in business practices, and even fraudulent activity by employees or third-party vendors.
Compliance risk management is identifying, assessing, and mitigating these risks. Financial institutions can protect themselves from costly penalties and reputational damage by taking a proactive approach to compliance risk management.
1. Understand Your Regulatory Environment
It is important to understand the regulatory environment in which your institution operates clearly. This includes staying up-to-date on changes in laws and regulations, as well as understanding how these changes may impact your operations. When updates and changes to compliance occur, your institution will need to adapt its policies and procedures accordingly.
2. Implement Strong Internal Controls
Financial institutions should have procedures in place for preventing and detecting compliance violations. These procedures should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.
When choosing a compliance solution, financial institutions should consider features like automation, workflow management, and real-time alerts. Selecting a solution that offers customization and flexibility, such as Pathlock, will allow the institution to tailor the solution to their specific needs.
3. Conduct Regular Training
All employees should receive regular training on compliance policies and procedures. Employees should be experts on the specific compliances that their company falls under. For example, those in the securities industry need to know about the laws and regulations set by the SEC. In contrast, those in the banking industry need to be aware of regulations from the Federal Reserve.
Compliance training should be interactive and engaging, making employees more likely to remember the information. Training should also be regularly updated, as regulations can change frequently.
Online courses, E-Learning platforms, and webinars are great ways to provide compliance training to employees efficiently.
4. Perform Regular Audits
Regular audits are essential for identifying compliance risks and ensuring that policies and procedures are followed. Financial institutions should consider conducting both internal and external audits.
Internal Vs. External
The financial institution’s staff conducts an internal audit. Internal audits are typically less expensive than external audits and can be more tailored to the organization’s specific needs.
An independent third party conducts external audits. External audits provide a more objective perspective and can be especially useful for detecting compliance risks that internal audits may miss. An external audit may be necessary to get a clear view of the organization’s compliance risks.
What Happens If You Find A Problem?
If a compliance risk is identified during an audit, the financial institution should take immediate action to mitigate the risk. This may include making changes to policies and procedures, providing additional training to employees, or taking disciplinary action against those who have violated compliance policies.
5. Have A Whistleblower Policy
A whistleblower policy is a formal process that allows employees to report compliance violations without fear of retaliation. Financial institutions should have a clear and concise policy that outlines the procedures for reporting violations.
The policy should be easily accessible to all employees and regularly reviewed to ensure it is updated. Employees should be aware of the policy during training and reminded of it regularly.
A whistleblower policy provides employees with a safe and confidential way to report compliance violations. It also helps to foster a culture of compliance within the organization.
Financial institutions must take a proactive approach to compliance to avoid costly violations. Implementing strong internal controls, conducting regular training, and performing periodic audits are essential for maintaining compliance. A whistleblower policy is also crucial for encouraging employees to report potential violations.
Financial institutions can effectively manage compliance and protect themselves from costly penalties by taking these steps.