What are some strategies that can be used to increase
awareness about opportunities in the compliance profession?
Saint-Victor: One of the subcommittees of our legal and compli-
Please define what’s included in the compliance area. Can you
ance diversity and inclusion committee is the Diversity Pipeline
Initiative. Its mission is to build a pipeline of diverse candidates
interested in pursuing a legal and/or compliance career, and
one of its goals is to expose college and law school students to
lawyers and compliance professionals in the financial services
sector. DPI is doing this in a number of ways, including partner-
ing with the NYC Bar DPI Committee to increase the pipeline
with programs targeting diverse individuals at various ends of
the spectrum—from high school students to newly admitted
attorneys. Programs include participation in collaborative
think-tank exercises, development of best-in-class guides
for various pipeline initiatives, providing hands-on
training and coaching of students and junior attor-
neys, and assisting students with resume writing
and interview skills. Specific events have included a
speed networking get-together and a diverse career
offer a brief overview of the profession?
Saint-Victor: The word compliance is derived from the verb “to
comply,” which means “to act in accordance with the rules.” In
the context of a financial service firm, it refers to the need to act
in accordance with the rules of various regulators and the need
to abide by internal systems of control
that are imposed to achieve compliance
with the externally imposed rules. The
role of a compliance officer can include
developing policy and practices that
ensure regulations are adhered to;
ensuring that no conflicts of interest
arise within the firm; identifying risks
to the firm and designing and implement controls to protect the firm from
such risks; monitoring and reporting on
the effectiveness of those controls; and
advising the business on rules and controls. Within the financial services industry, compliance covers many areas, including
banking, investment management and securities, marketing and
advertising, investment products and services, monitoring and
testing, surveillance and technology.
Are there people who are better suited for compliance work?
Henry: The more senior you are, the more important it is to have
real gravitas. Sometimes there is tension. It is important to be
able to say no when necessary and be willing to say maybe. Our
job is to find points of convergence for what business wants to do
and what regulators say. It is a combination of intelligence and
judgment. You gain credibility when people recognize that you
have a credibility reputation to rely on.
Why is it important for people to pay attention to this issue?
Saint-Victor: Besides it being the fair and decent thing to do, by
fostering a culture of diversity, employers benefit from varied
perspectives on how to confront business challenges and achieve
success. To have a quality legal and compliance department,
our workforce must consist of the most talented and creative
individuals available. In order to attract and retain this talent
from a representative cross-section of our global community, we
must strive to maintain an environment in which diversity and
inclusion is respected and encouraged. We seek to leverage our
similarities and differences, which include the full range of social
and cultural identities, organizational roles and perspectives, to
enhance our effectiveness.
What’s the organizational structure of most compliance
Henry: It varies. One of the big issues out there now is that
there are some institutions that are taking the chief compliance
officer out from under the chief legal officer and they are direct
reports to the board of directors or CEO. At Morgan Stanley, the
chief compliance officer reports to the chief legal officer. Some
companies are deciding that legal and compliance are sufficiently
distinct. We are seeing more of that happening.
When it comes to diversity, what are the issues? Is there a lack
Saint-Victor: This is a diverse country and a diverse world.
Firms that have a workforce as diverse as the population have
many perspectives, views and ideas that strengthen their ability
to do business, to strategize and communicate. There certainly are groups who are not yet represented in the compliance
Was there a particular shift toward compliance at some
point? If so, when and why?
Saint-Victor: Regulation of this industry has increased dramati-
To have a quality legal and
compliance department, our
workforce must consist of the
most talented and creative
— Nate Saint-Victor