(China Construction Bank (CCB))
The life of a Compliance Officer
What is your career path?
During my career as navy officer in The Netherlands I completed additional studies in operational audit which helped me to start working in the private sector within audit. When I moved to Luxem-bourg in November 2008 (a very snowy month in my memory) I shortly worked as internal auditor with RBC (still RBC Dexia at that time) before starting my Com-pliance journey at HSBC’s Private Bank in a brand new building on boulevard d’Avranches.
Few years later I was Country Head of Compliance at HSBC and besides a few extra grey hair I had gained a great deal of Compliance experience - especially during the last few years while HSBC was operating under a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. In 2016 I continued my Compliance career as CCO for PayPal in Luxembourg where I expended my Compliance experience in a different part of the financial services.
Time has flown since and it is with great pleasure that I recently continued my Compliance career with China Construction Bank adding yet another facet of global financial services to my work Compliance career path.
What do you enjoy most in your role?
I enjoy many aspects in my role as Chief Compliance Officer, but most of all I enjoy leading multi cultural teams of often young enthusiastic Compliance professionals. Separate from mentoring them in their Compliance career as I was mentored by my previous Compliance managers, and empowering them in their day-to-day work I love seeing my team engaging with business colleagues as a trusted partner who helps them to navigate through the ever increasingly complex world of rules and regulations. Furthermore, I love the fact that as Compliance Officer you get a pretty broad view of any organisation you work in and with formulating good recommendations we can help Senior Management running the business in a compliant way - so that we all can sleep better at night.
What skills does someone working in the area need?
In my view the Compliance Officers of this time and age require much more than only knowledge about rules and regulations; they certainly also require strong soft skills in terms of people management and even broader stakeholder management in general. An average Compliance Officer nowadays probably has around 5 different (groups of) stakeholders ranging from his/her own team to a Board of Directors, Authorised Management, Regula-tory bodies, Group internal Compliance in case one works for an international organisation, other department heads and potentially also remote Compliance team members in branches of other offices abroad.
Keeping this in mind the skill of maintaining a good work-life balance is certainly one a Compliance Officer can’t lack, should he / she wish to be successful on the longer term. Furthermore I think that the current Compliance Officers need to be eager to learn about new trends and business developments to be able to identify any potential compliance issues at an early stage. Last but certainly not least a Compliance Officer needs to work as a partner to the business, while keeping his/her back straight and being able to explain complex regulatory matters in a simple way to other colleagues including Senior Management.
How do you see the Compliance Officer of the future?
The Compliance Officer of the future will certainly have to adapt with the fast moving financial industry and regulatory change in general. Even thou I love all aspects of Compliance I predict that there will be division between the different Compliance disciplines - Financial Crime Compliance and Regulatory Compliance which require different knowledge and experience.
What do you want to share with other Compliance officers?
In particular to the younger Compliance colleges I would like to say: work hard, stay informed about the developments in Compliance, stay curious and keep challenging colleagues if needed so that you can look yourself in the eyes at the end of each day.
For those who do this and persist a very interesting and rewarding career in Compliance is only a matter of time.