Compliance vs. apathy: what it means and how you can achieve an active culture of compliance.

Compliance is complex. Regulatory changes and heightened risk compounding to challenge even the most adept compliance programs. The maelstrom of risk mitigation might leave you asking the question, what’s the equation for success?

Team + Technology + Education = Compliance.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the team aspect of compliance, highlighting what it looks like to have an active culture of compliance vs. a check-the-box, apathetic approach. And how you can achieve an active culture of compliance to help your firm mitigate risk today and tomorrow.

Active vs. apathic compliance.

While having a set list of tasks and procedures can help your compliance program stay on task, checking a box should never be the end goal. Taking a more active approach ensures your firm stays on top of potential risk factors. So, what does it look like to have an active vs. apathetic approach to compliance?

Active compliance:

  • Support by firm leaders.
  • Policies and procedures customized to your needs.
  • Staff cooperation and cohesion.
  • Common vision.
  • Regular staff trainings and check-ins.

Apathetic compliance:

  • Apathetic or hostile leadership.
  • Boilerplate policies and procedures.
  • Employees and staff only looking out for themselves.
  • Unstated or inconsistent vision.
  • No time or resources allocated for training.

Download the full infographic for a look into why creating an active culture of compliance benefits the entire firm.

Achieving an active culture of compliance

Culture, like most things in business, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a thoughtful approach and consistent effort to really pay off. But when it does, you can expect to benefit from an entire firm that prioritizes your compliance and takes the necessary steps to mitigate potential risk.

To achieve an active culture of compliance, you’ll need:

1. Support from leadership

Your culture starts from the top, which means without the support of your executive team, your culture of compliance will quickly become a culture of complaints and challenges.

2. Enterprise alignment

Culture isn’t something that can be departmentally driven. Your entire enterprise (or firm) must align on clear and contextualized policies, procedures and an overall understanding of what compliance entails for every individual. Your entire firm must be in constant synergy, leaving little room for different interpretations of risk.

3. Consistent onboarding and training

Firms must create and communicate the context behind why compliance is such a critical priority, ensuring every employee understands their role and responsibility.

4. Ongoing support and incentives

Compliance is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of initiative. To keep your initial momentum, you’ll need to provide employees with ongoing support, incentivizing those who go above and beyond. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Continued education.
  • Open communication.
  • Regular and contextualized updates to employees.

5. Scalable processes

What works for a firm of five won’t work for a firm of 500. As you scale, your compliance program needs to scale with you. Implementing a technology-backed process allows your team to grow with your firm’s needs – and the evolving regulatory landscape, while ensuring you never fall behind on risk compliance.

Learn more about how to create and leverage an active culture of compliance in order to meet heightened SEC, FINRA and FCA regulations in our 2022 CCO Playbook.