5 Top Regulatory Compliance Concerns for Financial Services

By Robert Half April 15, 2015 at 3:53pm

Maintaining regulatory compliance is clearly a top and ongoing concern for financial services organizations. But recognizing the issue commonly proves far easier than successfully managing it.

To provide insight into the financial sector’s top regulatory compliance issues, we asked Richard White, division director of Robert Half Management Resources in San Francisco, to explain what the stakes are if your business is found noncompliant — and how to avoid that possibility.

Richard notes the current environment for financial institutions is one of continuous testing, which makes it even more important — and challenging — to keep pace with compliance mandates. “As soon as a bank passes one test, it may face another test right around the corner,” says White. He points to the twice-yearly Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests as an example.

Issues of great concern for financial institutions

According to White, financial institutions should take particular care to stay on top of the regulatory compliance requirements and changes below, each of which can have significant potential financial ramifications:


One main purpose of the USA PATRIOT Act is to strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism. Failure to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act could result in fines that reach billions of dollars.

For quick reference, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network provides on its website an overview of the sections of the Act that may affect financial institutions.

2. Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR)

As of March 2015, the Federal Reserve can rule that your organization is undercapitalized. In a worst-case scenario, this could sink your share price catastrophically if investors panic and jump ship, says White.

See the Federal Reserve website for more information on the CCAR 2015 Assessment Framework and Results.

3. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

Fines for Ponzi scheme detection and other issues could cost your financial services organization $100 million in fines — or more.

For an overview of FINRA rules and to access the FINRA manual, go to the FINRA website.

4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB, which is responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector, was established as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Failure to comply with CFPB rules can result in penalties above the $10 million mark.

5. Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC)

Financial institutions, including national banks and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks, that do not comply with OCC regulations can face millions of dollars in penalties.

For more detail on several of the compliance matters listed above, see the Guide to U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Requirements, Frequently Asked Questions from Protiviti.

Keeping pace with change

Vigilance is mandatory to help ensure compliance, says White: “Compliance needs to be a priority throughout the institution. Controls and sound business systems must be in place, and all departments need to stay in communication with each other so the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.”

In addition to regularly monitoring and analyzing internal controls and financial systems, and assessing potential risks, White recommends that financial leaders take time to:

Noncompliance can damage your organization’s reputation as much as its bottom line. Keep your organization in line by identifying and managing risks, staying current with new legislation, keeping open lines of communication with your team, and hiring compliance experts.

Looking for compliance jobs? Explore our site to find employment opportunities in your area.

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Additional resources

Regulatory Compliance: How to Help Your Finance Team Stay Up to Date: Managing compliance initiatives is a significant challenge for CFOs, but the strategies outlined in this post can help you keep your accounting and finance teams up to date on need-to-know changes.

4 Tips to Help Financial Institutions Stay on Target With Regulatory Compliance: See these four suggestions for helping your organization be prepared for a regulatory compliance audit, and for staying on target with compliance requirements.

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