The Compliance Officer Bill of Rights

American Banker
1 minute read | February.22.2016

Regulators and prosecutors are under increasing pressure to bring charges not only against companies, but also against individual corporate officers. Compliance officers in particular are in the legal crosshairs and running scared.

No one benefits if compliance officers head for the doors. Their jobs involve a high degree of tension (and are hard to fill). Fear of criminal prosecution, financial penalties and reputational damage should not be added to the stress. The rights and responsibilities of compliance officers should be defined by clear and binding guidelines, including a safe harbor for those who play by the rules. I propose a compliance officers bill of rights.

A compliance officer's role is often advisory, not executive — corporate decisions are ultimately made by management and the board of directors. However, the compliance officer should have a seat at the table when significant decisions impacting compliance are made.