Compliance – part IV – Compliance officer

In this article, we will outline the role of compliance officers – their position within a company, and their tasks and responsibilities in an effective compliance system.

The compliance system is a set of procedures, actions and organisational solutions to ensure that the company operates in accordance with the external and internal regulations. The compliance system is not only a set of rules, i.e. orders and prohibitions applicable to a given enterprise, but it is also a kind of an ‘adviser’ helping to run the enterprise effectively and safely and achieve its objectives by means of these rules, which undoubtedly promotes its development.

The proper functioning of a compliance system should be overseen by an ‘expert’ who ensures compliance with the external and internal regulations and minimises the risk of non-compliance. A compliance officer is such an ‘expert’. A compliance officer is a person appointed within a given entity or outside (the so called external compliance officer, which, for example, may be a legal advisor providing compliance services), who has expertise and experience, in particular with respect to risk management and the implementation of solutions aimed at minimising the risk of non-compliance. The position of a compliance officer is primarily associated with ensuring the correct culture of procedures in an organisation and supporting the development of the business.

The main responsibilities of a compliance officer include, in particular:

  • implementing the compliance system and ensuring its correct functioning,
  • building the compliance awareness and culture within the company,
  • minimising the risks associated with running a company contrary to the applicable internal and external regulations in the compliance system, including the ethical and social standards,
  • providing training and education to employees and managers on the applicable requirements and the internal and external regulations concerning the compliance system,
  • monitoring the legal, corporate and industry developments,
  • identifying potential risks associated with the applicable regulations and making realistic risk assessments,
  • ensuring the proper functioning of the whistle-blowing system,
  • cooperation in the implementation of effective systems, procedures and safeguarding mechanisms,
  • reporting the implementation of the tasks arising from the compliance plan to the company’s governing bodies.

It should be borne in mind that the mere preparation and implementation of a compliance system is not sufficient. In order for such a system to be effective, it must be overseen by a competent person, which in this case is a compliance officer.

Please read our other articles on compliance:

Compliance – part III – Who is affected by the compliance system and how it is implemented.

Compliance – part II – compliance system

Compliance – part I – introduction

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