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CCOs Struggle to Drop 'Cop' Rep, Drive Strategy

Jill Gregorie ignites.com

If money is power, shops' growing compliance budgets suggest CCOs are gaining sway across the industry, particularly at a time when other departments are seeing spending cut. Yet compliance chiefs say they feel stuck in the backseat when it comes to driving firm strategy, a new report indicates.

In fact, half of compliance chiefs surveyed by Ignites Research say that their budgets have gotten bigger in the past year, but fewer than one third say they play a role in setting strategy at their firms.

CCOs can elevate their positions within an organization, however, consultants say. And it starts with articulating a clear vision for the role of compliance, and its impact on every other business unit, when a CCO starts in the role, says Dimitri Mastrocola, partner and head of the financial search practice at New York–based Major, Lindsey & Africa.

"The first six months are critical," he says.

CCOs also need to learn how to "speak the language of the business," so they can communicate how that plan will benefit other departments and engender trust from staffers in those units, Mastrocola says.

"What an effective CCO should want to do is instill a compliance culture across all levels of the organization so after proper training and cultural attunement, everyone will begin acting in ways that are compliant without compliance officers constantly reminding them what to do and how to do it," Mastrocola says.

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