New research from Accenture confirms compliance officers have a central role to play in the future of financial services, but they need to develop greater awareness of the changing ecosystem to help remain relevant and retain their seat at the table. The Accenture 2015 Compliance Risk Study — based on a survey of leading compliance officers at 150 banking, insurance and capital markets firms across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific — builds on last year’s study of the rising stature of compliance to consider the steps required to help future-proof and cement the elevated role and positive disruptive value of the compliance function within the organization.1 Our study concludes that:

  • Compliance has kept its “seat at the table.” In the past year Compliance has retained its position as an important and relevant control function in today’s financial services company, receiving continued investment and establishing a direct reporting line to senior management as its capabilities deepen. Compliance’s “seat at the table” is yet to be challenged.
  • A changing ecosystem demands greater compliance awareness. External shifts, including changing customer behaviors, the evolution of technology, and greater supplier diversity — coupled with an internal imperative to deliver on-demand, multi-channel customer services — are changing the demands put on compliance. This perspective is supported by our 2015 Compliance Risk Study and Accenture’s experience. We also believe pursuing existing plans unchecked can lead a compliance function to diverge from the enterprise’s future needs.
  • Creating and maintaining relevance and value. In a world driven increasingly by business disruption and not regulatory change, compliance, in our view, needs to develop more forward-looking capabilities and culture to create and retain value as a strategic business partner. Those that fail to do so may find their enhanced stature unsustainable. Among areas of focus we see:
    • Seeking and mastering opportunities to partner with industry peers and to leverage shared services to hold costs down and gain access to needed expertise
    • Understanding, growing and rewarding the skills and behaviors required to maintain the required workforce of the future
    • Becoming an ethical monitor and maintaining operational disciplines across the three lines of defense (front office, compliance and internal audit).

Be the disruptor, not the disrupted

In our view expectations of compliance have never been higher, and the role and value of the compliance officer has never been more central to the ongoing health of the industry. We believe that maintaining the status quo can be a risky strategy for compliance. Our experience — and the results from the Accenture 2015 Compliance Risk Study — support the notion that bold actions are required to effectively deliver on compliance’s mandate as a strategic business partner and its growing role and value to the organization.

How Accenture can help

Accenture can support financial services organizations develop their future strategy for turning their compliance function into a positive and disruptive force for creating enterprise value. Accenture has been working with institutions across the globe on time sensitive, compliance assignments to enhance operating models, including target processes, technology, skills, data, and governance. Please contact us to learn more on our capabilities, methodologies, and experience in this space.


  1. “Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted: Accenture 2015 Compliance Risk Study,” Accenture, February 2015. Access at:

Further Reading:

Accenture Regulatory Insights Blog

Newsletter Author:

Samantha Regan
Ben Shorten

Newsletter Contact Person

Craig Unterseher

If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for general informational purposes only, does not take into account the reader’s specific circumstances, may not reflect the most current developments, and is not intended to provide advice on specific circumstances. Accenture disclaims, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information in this document and for any acts or omissions made based on such information. Accenture does not provide legal, regulatory, audit or tax advice. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel or other licensed professional.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 336,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is

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