Career Path Job Descriptions

What is a Chief Compliance Officer?

Holding a senior position within a ‘s corporate compliance department, such as the Chief Compliance Officer, can be hugely rewarding for management officers. Wondering what is a chief compliance officer and how they serve their host companies? Read on for a full breakdown. 

Corporate compliance is an important job and the CCO role has significant scope for legal and human resources professionals. 

It’s also a vital aspect of business administration, one that directly  compliance requirements and 

In this article, I’ll be explaining the role of the chief regulatory compliance and what it entails for modern companies. If you’re interested in learning via video, then watch the video below.

Let’s get into it.

What is A Chief Compliance Officer? [Job Overview]

A chief compliance officer is someone who ensures that companies operate as per the laws, regulations, and guidelines set by the city and state they are in. 

Also called the Chief Risk Officers, they are directly responsible for addressing compliance issues within their host , and developing compliance programs to keep operations on the legal track. 

Some of their fundamental tasks include:

  • Coordinating with regulators and regulatory bodies for routine inspections
  • Researching all applicable laws in their territory
  • Implementing risk management measures
  • Performing -wide internal audits for compliance
  • Developing efficient risk assessment programs
  • Analyzing compliance risk before each new venture 
  • Providing compliance training to junior risk officers

Furthermore, senior compliance professionals oversee the development and renewal of all  policies to make sure they are up to code.

Chief Compliance Officer Responsibilities

As mentioned earlier, the chief compliance officer is in charge of ensuring lawful operation, recruitment, and expansion.

Their responsibilities primarily lie within the legal risk-management sphere and the majority of their career will be spent working in an administrative capacity. 

However, modern companies have to deal with an increasing of regulations. This calls for additional compliance activities, all of which fall on the CCO. 

are some of the primary responsibilities of a chief compliance officer in 2021.

  • Compliance Work Plans: Each needs a checklist of pointers that ensure a ‘s complete compliance with all prevalent regulatory requirements. The chief compliance officer collaborates with the board of directors, chief executive officer, senior management, etc. to develop such a plan with the host ‘s unique audit needs in mind. 
  • Coordination with Regulators: Government regulators need to coordinate with someone within the who understands regulatory compliance and can ascertain the ‘s compliance. The CCO coordinates with outside regulators on each new legal development and implements any required compliance functions as needed. 
  • Risk Program Oversight: The CCO is the main point person for all risk assessment and management tasks. More than that, they help plan all the risk-management programs, develop them in collaboration with the legal team, and then oversee their periodic implementation throughout the , while maintaining lines of communication between shareholders and users.
  • Compliance Training: Due to their seniority and understanding of the compliance framework within their territory, chief compliance officers create all training and development plans for incoming compliance officers. Additionally, they help train human resources personnel who are directly dealing with recruitment and dismissals.
  • Equipment and Process Assessment: Since regulatory compliance laws are applicable on all assets and operations, chief compliance officers are responsible for inspecting all equipment, machinery, and processes to check if they comply with current standards.

Additionally, CCOs are present during all strategic development sessions in order to assess and ascertain the compliance-related viability of each new measure. 

Required Skills for Chief Compliance Officers

Maintaining compliance involves observing, reporting, planning, and implementing, sometimes simultaneously. 

Any modern CCO working on either a full-time or freelance/consultancy basis needs to have some fundamental skills.

These are:

Knowledge of Regulatory Laws

Needless to say, the CCO has to always stay on top of all existing , state, and federal regulatory laws. They need to know what new operational or expansion venture would require regulatory inspection, as well as which new regulations will need to be implemented in the form of changes to the . 

Expertise in Compliance Policies

Knowing the compliance standards and policies for each applicable territory is necessary for CCOs. Even more important is being an expert in making procedures and operations comply with regulatory standards, as well as having practical experience of modern audit techniques.

Regulatory Experience

Industry experience is a major requirement for any compliance officer, let alone the head of the department. In fact, the majority of the knowledge related to compliance strategy and auditing comes from the practical experience of either implementing regulatory change in a ’s operational fabric or working with government departments that devise regulations.

Analytical Skills

Any that hired a senior compliance officer looks for project management ability, analytical skills, and a keen eye for legal developments. The more analytically sound a compliance officer is, the better they will be able to judge where a stands from a compliance point of view, and what changes to implement to make it compliant.

Organizational Skills 

Chief compliance officers need to be capable of organizing regulatory meetings and implement the required measures. this requires a significant amount of organizational skills, especially in companies with a large of assets or employees. Furthermore, they need to be able to call meetings with key stakeholders and multitask in real-time.   

Leadership Skills

The chief compliance officer is the leader of the compliance department. This means that they should have distinct leadership qualities in them in order to perform their due diligence and successfully implement even the most drastic of measures throughout the to ensure compliance. 

Soft Skills

Aside from the obvious working skills, chief compliance officers need to have a range of soft skills, including excellent communication, observation, leadership, and public speaking skills. On top of that, they should be highly observant of their professional surroundings in order to keep an eye on any practices that may not comply with set standards.

Aside from these, chief compliance officers can benefit a lot from a background in legal administration, a certification in a legal field, or some experience working in a , state, or federal administrative office.

Required Qualifications for Chief Compliance Officers

are the primary qualifications required to become a bona fide CCO:

  • High school diploma or a GED certificate
  • 4-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (business administration and business law being the two most prominent)
  • Master’s degree in a similar field with a focus on applied business administration
  • At least 4-5 years of experience in a regulatory compliance capacity
  • An extended apprenticeship in a position that directly leads to compliance management

It is important to note that some companies don’t require candidates to have a master’s degree for the chief compliance officer job. 

However, it’s beneficial for candidates to have as many relevant qualifications as they can, in order to shorten the time it takes them to reach their desired position. 

Additionally, the Certified Public (CPA) certification is a requirement for organizations that want a chief compliance officer for primarily financial oversight. Different companies may also have their own specific accreditation requirements.

Becoming a Chief Compliance Officer in 2021

The significance of legal and regulatory compliance has been compounded in recent years.

This is due to the increased role of technology and process automation in recent times.

Technology has eliminated the need for manual regulatory oversight, while automation has resulted in machinery and equipment that can be programmed and set up to run as per regulatory requirements. 

In light of this, it’s necessary for prospective chief compliance officers to expand their skill and qualification horizons to include more diverse certification and accreditation courses.

Courses such as the aforementioned CPA certification will provide some additional knowledge that will make compliance officers more valuable to their host companies. In addition to that, they will help potential CCOs better understand the requirements of more niche jobs, even within their professional scope.

Ending Note

2021 has been all about transformative process changes and the compliance measures being implemented everywhere reflect that to the fullest. 

In light of these changes, it makes sense for any prospective chief compliance officer to upskill themselves and diversify their operational capabilities to such a degree that they become a highly valuable candidate for whichever they apply in.

By Josh Fechter

Josh Fechter is a partner at Corporate Compliance HQ and has founded several companies in software and training.