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back to index backAMERItalk June,  2017


Compliance Grows Up: Increasing Budgets and Board Access Point Toward Greater Prominence, Independence

Improvements to compliance programs, likely combined with recent political changes, are helping to reduce compliance executives’ concerns about personal liability. At the same time, the compliance function is becoming more independent and prominent in large organizations worldwide – though there remains significant room for improvement, especially in compliance’s relationship with boards of directors.

Those are among the top findings in DLA Piper’s 2017 Global Compliance & Risk Report. Amid an uncertain global compliance landscape – following the election of Donald Trump, and Brexit, among other factors – compliance professionals and directors from international and US companies noted improvement and diminished concern about personal liability, even as they shared many of the same lingering worries.

This year, 67 percent of chief compliance officers surveyed said they were at least somewhat concerned about their personal liability and that of their CEOs, down from 81 percent in 2016. And 71 percent said they made changes to their compliance programs based on recent regulatory events – up from just 21 percent a year earlier.

But clearly, there is more work to be done. The fact that two out of every three respondents remain concerned is significant – and indicates that an evolving compliance landscape, both in the US and abroad, still keeps many executives up at night. It could also indicate a general sense that compliance executives should never rest easy.

“You can never rest on your laurels – and there’s always something new out there. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind,” said one CCO. “That’s the expectation of senior management and the board – that we’ll always be looking to improve our programs.”

This year, 67 percent of chief compliance officers surveyed said they were at least somewhat concerned about their personal liability, down from 81 percent in 2016. And 71 percent said they made changes to their compliance programs based on recent regulatory events – up from just 21 percent a year earlier.

The level of concern among members of boards of directors – surveyed for the first time this year – was even higher: 82 percent of directors said they were at least somewhat concerned about personal liability. This is likely related to other findings that show lingering kinks in communications channels and a persistent lack of training for directors. Together, these findings indicate that the relationship between the compliance function and boards needs work – despite efforts taken by organizations to upgrade their compliance program.

The following report analyzes the findings of this year’s survey, which we’ve broken into three categories, and provides practical guidance for organizations.

To download 28-page report, please click here.

Source: DLA Piper - GAI



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