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It’s not always smooth-sailing delivering better banking. On the Auka blog we share our views, our experiences and our losses and victories as innovators in the world of financial services since 2010.

Compliance departments: how do you measure success?


Written by: David Zacks September 03, 2018

Criminals are always scheming and attempting to get their illicit transactions by compliance officers. Regulators are increasing fines for financial institutions failing to operate sound compliance programs. With increased fines and regulatory pressures, financial institutions are taking additional precautionary steps to identify all suspicious activity.  This has led to a significant growth in cases for compliance teams to review.

In order to cope with the growth in suspicious alerts and internal employee referrals, compliance managers are staffing up. They’re increasing headcount in response to the rapid increase in case volume and to ensure they do not process illicit funds.

Until fairly recently, the success of a compliance program has typically been measured by the number of alerts, referrals and investigations checked off and completed. But this doesn’t answer the question that all top management is bound to have. Is my compliance department’s spend worth the mega bucks allocated to it on the master budget? I.e. how do I better measure the return on investment when it comes to my compliance spend?

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I recently wrote an article for ACAMS Today which outlines four key metrics that compliance heads can use to better measure and report their department’s ROI.

You can read the full article on the ACAMS Today website here. But, to give you a sneak preview, the headlines for the four metrics are:

  1. Investigations: The cost and time it takes to complete each case (system-generated alerts, employee referrals and investigations).
  2. Technology: Is the technology proportional to the organization’s needs?
  3. Training: What is the cost of a robust and ongoing program?
  4. Business Support: How does the compliance team support their commercial counterparts?

If you’d like to learn more, get in touch or drop me a line at david@auka.io.

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Two weeks ago, I also shared an article I’d written about the future of anti-money laundering compliance. You can read more about this here.


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