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We had a wonderful time reviewing the past, present, and future of compliance management tools during our webinar about a month ago.

A special thanks to Luis Parra of Complyportal and Donal Lawlor of ViClarity for taking the time to discuss these software with us and how they have made life much simpler for an organisation’s compliance function.

If you missed it, the event’s full transcript is now available to our members following the link below.

For now, we leave you with a few of the session’s main highlights courtesy of our panel of experts.

When did compliance management tools start becoming popular among compliance professionals and what actually started it all?

Donal ViClarityDonal Lawlor: “I think that the financial crash and the banking crisis in 2008 initiated a huge amount of regulation. From all the central banks, there was, some would regard it maybe as a knee-jerk reaction, but as a wave of regulation certainly after that.”

“In terms of recognizing the need for technology, we would say 2015 or 2016 maybe as kind of a tipping point, and people recognizing the need for technology to make compliance management easier, to save time, and to automate processes and things like that.”

“My own background, actually, I worked in Treasury where there was a focus certainly in the noughties to embed process automation, so that might be straight through processing, if you book a trade you do it automatically through a robot, and the robot reconciles the trade, and it settles the trade and there was a real focus on that side. But I think it was probably 2015 or 2016 on the compliance side trying to embed this process automation and probably the move to cloud certainly from 2015 onward has helped that because you can do things and build systems quicker without having the need for on-server type builds and software.”

What are compliance management tools meant to do?

Luis-Parra ComplyportalLuis Parra: “You know that look sometimes you see it in the mirror, sometimes from employees, it is that look of “Oh dear, goodness, not again.” With today’s rapid business pace and just increased workload, they need to respond to all these numerous compliance requests and you get that look because, as a compliance officer, you are constantly requesting that things be done on time.”

“So the right tools, in essence, help keep that fatigue at bay, the compliance fatigue, and what a compliance tool would do is being able to schedule your tasks, monitor the completion, and it takes you out of the loop so you do not need to nag people, they do not feel overwhelmed by your requests, it is scheduled, it’s anticipated, it’s there and everyone can see.”

“Some tools do a better job than others but they not only centralize all of this information, all in one place, so think the same things you do today on email and spreadsheets and calendar reminders and SharePoint but digitizing it and having it all in one place. So really you are keeping not only yourself up to speed but your whole team on the same page, so it is that visibility and almost gamification because you can see who is not doing it, who is falling overdue, and you have to click on those tasks to get them done and off your desk.”

Are there certain challenges that have not yet been solved by compliance management tools?

Luis Parra: “This one is really easy. Technology cannot replace people. The work still has to be done so now you have all these bells and whistles and reminders that are popping up but that is work that still needs to be done. So you need employee adoption, you need a good methodology in place for making sure that it is introduced at the right pace for your  organisation. I call it the lighthouse effect; you pick a small battle and you win at that and then it shines like a big beacon for why this was good and how it saved time for everybody and you get champions in because it will save their time, but only if they adopt it and only if they are educated on how it works and get on board.”

“So technology can be a friend but it also needs to be implemented correctly, you cannot just throw it in and expect that it is going to be magic. There is a lot of work to it, but it is a necessity as we have talked about with the volume of regulatory changes and just the volume of data that we are faced with in workload. You need a tool so that is a good place to start, making sure that you have a plan to implement it well.”

What sort of skills and what sort of training do these people need to actually run one of these compliance management tools?

Donal Lawlor: “The best projects that we have seen is where you have a tandem approach where you have got the compliance and risk people but also a project management office (PMO) that’s associated with it because there are going to be lots of things that they need to think about or embed into the project, what kind of reporting, what are the outputs, and that’s a really important part.”

“And especially now when presentation layer people are used to, especially in the world of apps and things like, that the presentation layer people really need to be up to speed on what is possible and what are the challenges or what are the obstacles and that is where you need that project approach. So we find it where you have got that tandem, you have got a compliance team but also IT team or project management team alongside.”

Happy reading!

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