Training Compliance Officers

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By Justin Muscolino
Head of Compliance Training, GRC Solutions
In this blog post, Justin Muscolino, GRC Solutions’ Head of Compliance Training in North America, reflects on the benefits of having a training program for Compliance Officers.

During my career in compliance training I’ve learned first-hand that you need all the assistance you can get. It’s important to get others involved in delivering your message. One way to do that in a consistent manner is to equip Compliance Officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to be an extension of you. Compliance Officers typically deal directly with the business, either portions of it or as a whole. Increasing their capabilities to deliver more effective training can only aid in delivering your message. This also creates a great opportunity to change the compliance culture in your firm.

I realized early in my career that it can be difficult at times to get the necessary buy-in from business leaders to deliver an effective compliance training program. That’s why I started looking at possibilities to be more effective in my role. That’s why I thought it was important to have others working in compliance to help me deliver messages throughout the firm. Then I started realizing that not everyone has the skillset and style to achieve these goals. What if I trained them effectively to understand what it takes to deliver the appropriate messages? I created a program aimed at enhancing the capabilities of Compliance Officers to deliver effective training.

Over the years the program evolved into something more. There were other areas in which Compliance Officers needed assistance after they performed a thorough needs analysis. A few ideas surfaced, particularly about the need to deliver a clear and crisp message.

There were many times when I attended business meetings with other Compliance Officers in which they weren’t asking the necessary questions, didn’t have the right mindset, or couldn’t convey a message.

Think about it. Could a training program for compliance officers shift the culture of compliance? Yes, it could. By delivering a consistent message and approach you can change the culture.

What are the benefits of creating a Compliance Officer program?

  • Shift in compliance culture
  • Consistent messaging
  • More effective training and better performance (and presence) in meetings
  • Better alignment to the firm’s needs
How do you do it?

Coming up with a proper program means that you will have to conduct a needs analysis to determine the gaps and opportunities of your Compliance Officers. Talking with your CCO, Compliance Officers and people within the business could determine your direction and eventually a curriculum for your program. Here are some example questions to ask:

1. Business

a. What skills do you think can be developed further to enhance the relationships (i.e. communication, presentation, organization) with your department?
b. How do you feel about the current state of risk in your business?

 2. CCO

a. In your vision, how would you like Compliance Officers to be perceived by the business and the firm?
b. Has there been any feedback from the business on our compliance officers?
c. Where do you think there are opportunities for improvement?

3.  Compliance Officers

a. Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
b. What type of training can help you in dealing with the business?

When asking these types of questions, remember that this is not a performance evaluation of a particular compliance officer, but a way to improve the compliance culture throughout the firm.

If you want to create a Compliance Officer training program, the results of your needs analysis can determine what the program will look like. It will vary from firm to firm, but the core basics should remain the same. Some of the possible topics may include: presentation skills, influence and persuasion skills, running effective meetings and understanding your target audience. These are high-level topics which would have to be defined in granular detail based on the needs analysis conducted.

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