The 7 Attributes of an Effective Compliance Officer

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While we could probably list dozens of attributes that an effective chief compliance officer SHOULD have, we have come up with 7 that they MUST have. An informal survey of CCOs revealed that the very the first attribute – a keen understanding of the regulatory landscape – has consistently been the most difficult to master.

  1. Have a keen understanding of the regulatory landscape (i.e., best practices, rule changes, red flags, proposed rule changes; examination trends).
  2. Have complete familiarity with the company’s compliance policies and procedures (i.e., compliance is not just one among many responsibilities).
  3. Have detailed knowledge of the company’s business, customer-base, operations and personnel (i.e., know where the risks are).
  4. Have the ability to foster a culture of compliance.
  5. Have an understanding of how the company uses technology and any resultant vulnerabilities.
  6. Have the skill-set to supervise all aspects of the company’s compliance program, including the annual risk assessment, annual review and compliance testing.
  7. Have the courage to speak truth to power (i.e., have the ability to tell the founder that they cannot cut corners).