Attributes of a Successful Compliance Officer in UK Financial Services

Mar 10th '23

As a Compliance Manager/Officer/Director you will undoubtedly have firm ideas of how compliance should be run within your specific firm. It is also vital that you’re aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and ultimately your own personal development with regard to people skills so that you can easily deal with all levels of individual within your organisation.


So what is a good compliance manager look like? What does a compliance manager need to aspire to? Does having a mug with “best compliance manager ever” stencilled on it count for anything?


The attributes of an award-winning Compliance Manager must surely for the list that would make any dating agency proud. We will not attempt to list these in their entirety however 11 certain elements need to be present for the reasons that follow:


  1. Confident: as compliance manager we should not be intimidated by anybody who has a loutish approach or try to intimidate anyone who will not bend the rules to suit them. Additionally you must also be confident enough to challenge the status quo and make waves at the highest levels of the firm if it is not clear or apparent that compliance has been adhered to.
  2. Training delivery: being able to put across the compliance message in the firm, clear and positive way, explaining the rationale and necessity for everyone as a whole plays a major part in the Compliance Manager’s make up.
  3. Communication: to be able to communicate with people of all levels within the firm or organisation is of critical importance as anybody who seemed aloof or inappropriately insincere will not engender the respect needed.
  4. Regulatory universe: understanding the entire impact of the various regulators that affect our firm does not only give you a sound grounding but should also provide you with a clear understanding of where the rules originate and why they have been brought about.
  5. Attention to detail: this is particularly important for interpreting new rules monitoring analyses and investigations and also involves your inventiveness and creativity so that you do not end up with a “no”, but can provide alternative solutions to any situation.
  6. Gravitas: you must be credible when you say yes or no. Dithering or prevaricating will not get you the respect you need to control a compliance department or framework within the firm, but whatever your answer, people will know you have the background experience and common sense approach that they can rely on and more importantly a consistent format of explanation.
  7. IT and report writing skills: being able to use IT systems competently and efficiently pays dividends in not only report writing but in analyses of data and preparation of management information for the senior management as well as the regulatory reporting requirements of tomorrow that will become more web-based.
  8. Decision making: a knack to learning and understanding new situations so that you can make quick decisions or, with confidence, not to make quick decisions will stand you in good stead.
  9. Diplomacy: a key element to people skills is the art of negotiating and persuading. A compliance manager uses threats intimidation and bullying tactics is not usually a compliance manager for very long.
  10. Patience: is not only a virtue but a keen attribute to develop.
  11. Enthusiasm: without this, working as a compliance manager becomes a chore, and you soon tire of all the grief, gripes, moans and groans associated with people.


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