Amid a tough climate of regulatory enforcement and an explosion of new rules after the financial crisis, many large companies—especially financial institutions—have beefed up their staffing on risk and compliance.
Citigroup, for example, now boasts nearly 30,000 employees dedicated to regulatory and compliance issues. As 2014 drew to a close, HSBC was well on its way toward a goal of 7,000. Since 2013, JPMorgan Chase has increased compliance- and risk-related spending by $4 billion and added 5,000 new employees. Last year, Deutsche Bank added 500 U.S. compliance officers to its ranks.
“It is one thing to have a big head count, but it can be caveman compliance: They are just hunting and gathering. How much of their time is really being used to conduct high-quality analytical work and provide good advice to your stakeholders?”
-Mitch Avnet, CEO, Compliance Risk Concepts
"While few would argue that these investments are a bad thing, ramping up does require a carefully developed strategy that matches adequate talent with a coordinated game plan", says Mitch Avnet, CEO of Compliance Risk Concepts, a consulting firm.
“While companies have taken huge steps to increase the size of their compliance functions, I can’t tell you that those functions are any better today than they were historically,” he says.
“There can be a lot of confusion among a lot of the added compliance folks in terms of where they fit in, who owns what, and who is stepping on whose toes.”