In a recent article, a senior relationship manager at a US bank in Hong Kong complained that "Compliance is ruining my world". My colleagues and I have heard similar statements in the past. Healthcare professionals argue that they are swamped with useless paperwork and patient forms. Nonprofit champions say that the costs of complying with government rules drain much needed financial resources away from the core mission. In fact, customer-facing professionals in many industries may share the same point of view.
Thomas Cheong's (not the real name) reasoned position is based in part on the fact that things are not the same as they were six years ago. The new rules require him to speak to his clients more often to verify that they are still good customers based on the Know Your Customer compliance rules. Mr. Cheong is forgetting that Compliance is not the Bogeyman; Compliance is in place to protect you, your customers, and your company from the Bogeyman.
In a meeting last week with compliance professionals, Pekka Dare, Director ICT Academic Faculty noted that in financial services, the global trend has shifted the primary Know Your Customer compliance responsibility to the front office, where the client relationship is owned. As a private banker, it is essential to understand the source of wealth of new or existing clients. It is equally important to know about your customer's customer. Mr. Cheong is experiencing a global change. Change is hard, and no one likes to change, if they can help it.
There are different methodologies that can be used to streamline processes to allow customer-facing professionals to complete compliance tasks with minimal impact to the operations. The development and integration of the methodologies and tools require the skills of compliance professionals with deep understanding of the issues, with knowledge and insights to provide best in class solutions.