PwC's State Of Compliance Study shows what separates the best from the rest
Powerhouse consulting firm PwC recently released its 2018 State Of Compliance Study, the seventh in a series designed to help leading companies' compliance and ethics risk-management efforts be "more agile and more effective." The study is built around a PwC poll of 825 risk and compliance executives. Questions focused on compliance policies and the technology that facilitates compliance activities.
The study identifies 17% of respondents as Leaders: those "very satisfied with the effectiveness of their compliance programs;" who implemented "progressive practices in all aspects of compliance risk management;" and used "information and technology to increase program effectiveness." Per the study, there are four specific ways Leaders execute their compliance programs differently than non-Leaders:
- LEADERS INVEST IN TECH-ENABLED INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT A MODERN, DATA-DRIVEN COMPLIANCE FUNCTION
According to PwC, regtech will soon be the primary differentiator between those firms "keeping pace with regulation and those falling behind." Regtech is any technology that helps firms address regulatory challenges in financial services. StarCompliance is a regtech firm, offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) compliance software to help firms monitor employee conflicts of interest and market abuse.
Importantly, regtech helps firms address regulatory challenges in a comprehensive and cost-efficient manner. Cloud infrastructure, machine learning, and advanced analytics are all part of regtech, and allow firms to analyze large volumes of data and quickly determine potential risks to the business at a reasonable cost. Per the study, leaders "more often have various infrastructure elements in place" than their peers, and "more often use data-analytics tools, dashboards, and continuous monitoring" than their peers. Leaders also follow "deliberate strategies to build technology infrastructure for the future."
- LEADERS INCREASE COMPLIANCE MONITORING EFFECTIVENESS THROUGH ANALYTICS AND USE OF TECHNOLOGY
Analytics combined with automation technology is the inescapable way forward for compliance in the digital age, says PwC. "Two-thirds, or 66%, of Leaders use technology to monitor employees' compliance with ethics and compliance-related policies and procedures," versus 41% of non-Leaders. This combination makes "continuous monitoring of employee compliance across many areas of the business far more feasible," which can help compliance be more responsive, or even proactive, in mitigating issues.
And when it comes to monitoring personal trading, gifts and entertainment, fraud, privacy, and social media, Leaders are more likely than non-Leaders to use technology at least intermittently, if not continuously, to monitor these key areas. Also, technology-enabled compliance monitoring is most effective when combined with "available data and data sources at their organizations," including from HR, IT, finance, the supply chain, and procurement. Finally, Leaders also "cite more benefits" from tech use than non-Leaders, suggesting "Leaders generate greater returns on their technology investments."
- LEADERS STREAMLINE POLICY MANAGEMENT TO INCREASE RESPONSIVENESS AND BOOST POLICY AND PROCEDURE EFFECTIVENESS
2017 US Department of Justice guidance stresses the importance of "implementing, monitoring, and assessing policies in the evaluation of compliance program practices." Per the PwC study, Leaders do this in several ways. First, they update their codes of conduct, policies, and procedures more often than non-Leaders. And they update them on as-needed basis, versus the more typical two-to-five year cycle. Leaders are also more likely to make these policies and procedures more readily accessible across their organizations.
Second, Leaders are more likely than non-Leaders to have a single policy-management framework, one that applies to "all corporate polices and procedures, including those related to ethics and compliance." Third, and closely related, Leaders more often streamline this framework through the use of policy-management software. Fourth, Leaders measure the effectiveness of their policies and procedures more comprehensively than non-Leaders.
- LEADERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY TO PROVIDE TARGETED, ENGAGING, AND UP-TO-DATE COMPLIANCE TRAINING
Compliance training and communications is not just more current and comprehensive for Leaders versus non-Leaders, it's also more likely to be sourced from multiple channels. This means it can be better targeted and more creatively presented. Leaders also cover a wider array of risks than non-Leaders, and are more likely to conduct compliance training for their boards of directors. 51% of Leaders say they use live training for their boards, to keep it more engaging.
Leaders are also more likely to keep their training risk relevant, to more strongly engage employees and help them remember exactly what it is they're supposed to be doing. Finally, Leaders say they plan to increase their use of training that is dynamically triggered by monitoring activities, another benefit of automation technology, and are investigating varied ways to conduct training. These include: (1) shorter, more frequent training; (2) Ted-Talk-like awareness videos; and (3) the use of mobile apps, seen as a cost-effective way to increase employee engagement with compliance.
Read the entire PwC 2018 State Of Compliance Study here.
For access to additional PwC research and insights, click here.