Why it’s Important to Right-Size Your Compliance Staff

People skills and knowledge of both the auto industry and financial regulations – these are the most important qualities to look for when building your compliance staff, according to panelists at the Right Sizing Your Compliance Staff Webinar on March 26.

Representatives from four different companies offered their views on how to build the best compliance staff at the webinar, which took place Wednesday, March 26 and was co-hosted by The Center for Auto Finance Excellence and Fiserv.

Terri Horn, a recruiter from the management consulting firm People Strategies LLC, said that the most important skills to look for are “problem solving, adapting a message to its audience, and building trust.”

The most important position for any compliance department is the chief compliance officer, but having the best compliance department is about more than just the one person, said Richard Lewis, senior vice president at Bank of the West. “The regulators expect a sustainable program,” he said. “Is there a long term succession plan for that position? Is there adequate staffing and replacement strategies should that chief compliance officer leave the organization?”

Lewis said that it was also important for compliance staffers to have a mix of experiences and skills. They should have “business domain expertise” to go along with “knowledge of the regs and the application of the regs,” he said.

“Done very well it’s a blend of an oversight role first and foremost, but also a business support role,” Lewis said. In this way, the compliance staff can not only tell the company when they’re non-compliant, but help them start moving towards compliant solutions.

Horn noted that it is always important to be flexible when it comes to solving compliance problems. “There’s no formula that’s going to fit every situation,” she said. “[It] depends on a lot of different criteria. Conduct a thorough needs assessment.”

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