Skill shortages, hiring freezes and budget constraints, all hindering the compliance department’s ability to function

Despite the near certainty of a global financial regulation overhaul during 2010, it appears that many compliance departments are struggling due to lack of resources.

That’s according to a survey of 1000 compliance professionals carried out by the recruiter Mcgregor Boyall.

The survey paints a picture of skill shortages, hiring freezes and budget constraints, all of which are hindering the compliance function’s ability to carry out its role to its full potential.

Forty percent of respondents reported headcount caps within their department and a third felt that an absence of experienced staff was impacting on performance. Additionally, over a quarter of respondents (26%) reported cuts in their budgets.

However, there was also some good news with the survey revealing that 86% of compliance professionals felt that they were seen as strategic and involved.

Respondents described their department as “a central function at the heart of strategic decision making” and “active in all departments through the business.”

“While it is encouraging to see that the compliance departments are being seen as business critical functions, it is clear from our results that there are fewer resources available to manage an even greater regulatory pressure,” said Philippa Anderson head of Mcgregor Boyall’s compliance and risk practice.

The survey also found that 44% of compliance professionals turned new roles down during 2009 citing ‘job security’ issues.

“With the evolving nature of the regulatory framework, it is vital that firms get the right resources in place now,” added Anderson. “There will be new limits on the power to package and securitise debt and hedge funds will face new scrutiny. Additionally, The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is due to begin assessing the impact of recent reforms designed to toughen up bank capital and liquidity requirements. This is bound to have a knock on effect on demand for compliance professionals and if organisations do not act now they could find themselves being left out in the cold!”