Being a Compliance Officer - The Struggle is Real!

Compliance officers within regulated firms are often unsung heroes, working tirelessly to ensure that the firm is meeting its regulatory obligations, usually with very limited resources.

We know that past surveys within the industry have highlighted that compliance officers often feel stressed within their roles, and some even wake in the middle of the night with worries about their job.

The role includes preventing, identifying, and mitigating regulatory risk, coupled with trying to balance the strategy of the business. This can often put them at odds with the leadership or culture of the firm, and with many compliance officers holding either Senior Manager or Certified Functions, it’s easy to see why there is a potential for the role to have an impact on mental health.

Unfortunately, some firms still see the Compliance Department as the “business prevention unit” but in my experience nothing could be further from the truth. Nearly every compliance officer I have ever met is passionate, hardworking, and, ultimately, they care about doing the right thing for customers whilst protecting the interests of the business and that of the senior managers.

Compliance officers are often juggling so many balls, and the role requires a unique skill set including problem solving, communication with all levels of the business, all departments, and external customers. They also need to have a proactive nature, excellent technical knowledge, and empathy – often lending a sympathetic ear to other colleagues.

All this, whilst often fighting a constant uphill battle to be taken seriously and establish the importance of compliance within the firm – it can be a lonely place to be; sometimes they can feel as though they are speaking a different language to everyone else!

When your compliance officer tells you that you need to approach something in a certain way to ensure you are compliant with the rules, they have normally spent many hours researching, pouring over the rule book, carrying out a risk analysis exercise, then translating that into a practical solution that will work with what your business is trying to achieve. They aren’t being a “business prevention unit”, and when they are made to feel they are, it just adds to the pressure they are already under.

We are currently experiencing a rapidly evolving regulatory environment, with increased focus on customer protection, highlighted in the FCA’s pricing remedy and the enhanced product governance and oversight framework, so supporting and investing in compliance and your compliance officer is more important than ever.

RWA specialises in GI regulatory compliance and can offer this much needed support to your business and your compliance officer, helping them to share their load with like-minded professionals, who understand the challenges of their demanding role, providing meaningful practical solutions, that fit with your business, whilst navigating the complex world of compliance.

If you are a business owner or compliance officer in need of support and would like more information on how RWA can support your business, please contact your RWA Regional Business Manager or email

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