Compliance teams work with limited resources and need to push every single door to get their message across and make sure each function is involved.
Needless to say, compliance officers have many key challenges they face in their role and function within the greater organization. To get an expert’s opinion on the topic, we tapped GAN Integrity’s new VP of Compliance EMEA, Pauline Blondet (pictured below). Pauline comes to us from the practitioner side of compliance, having both advised in private practice and built and managed her own compliance program in-house. With that experience comes a wealth of valuable knowledge and a unique perspective on all things related to compliance.
Pauline will start contributing to this blog monthly by launching her own series titled A Commando Approach to Compliance: Actionable Advice. She will focus on the concrete challenges compliance officers have in their day-to-day lives and provide you with actionable advice to tackle these common challenges head-on. Read the interview below to learn more about Pauline and her perspective on the top challenges compliance officers face today.
How did you start working in compliance?
I became a litigator because I wanted to plead! As an attorney qualified in both New York and Paris, I started my career in a major international law firm, notably working on transnational investigations related to trade sanctions and corruption.
My time at the firm was a very concrete introduction to the dirty side of compliance: when regulators are already investigating potential misconduct. I was amazed at how much effort and business disruption had to be put into handling an investigation and mitigating the consequences of misconduct. It became clear to me that the only way to go about it was to actively and consistently prevent these situations from happening. This is what compliance is all about.
I was then hunted to join the beverage industry, first as legal counsel, but quickly began undertaking compliance initiatives and leading the compliance function.
How did you end up here at GAN Integrity?
Truth be told, I’m a bit of a nerd. In my in-house functions, I was always looking for innovative digital solutions to maximize my impact and leverage my resources as effectively as possible. I met GAN Integrity while I was scouting the market for tools that would make the life of my team easier. When I saw their all-in-one compliance platform, I was thrilled. Long story short, I was first a client and loved the GAN platform, the vision, and the team so much that I decided to become a part of it!
What do you consider as the key challenges faced by compliance officers in their day-to-day jobs?
From my perspective, there are three main key compliance challenges today:
- Managing a company-wide compliance project: Compliance officers are the great coordinator of a global, never-ending project which involves many stakeholders and functions, in various streams. The bigger and more decentralized the organization, the greater the project and the challenge. This requires state of the art project management skills, which are not typically part of the lawyer skillset.
- Impacting functions and processes beyond the direct control of compliance: The compliance program involves many stakeholders and functions which may have their own roadmaps and agenda. Try to ask finance to review and amend anti-corruption accounting controls while they are preparing their yearly closing! Beyond giving orders and writing emails with your CEO in copy, influence and persuasion are key to have other functions dedicate time and resources to compliance.
- Measuring the compliance impact: This is about answering the “does it really work?” question. It starts with data, and data starts with documenting every step taken by compliance and all other actors involved along the way. Once you have data, it is about making sense of it to assess progress and define your future action. In most companies, data is all over the place, inaccessible and disorganized.
Which opportunities do you see for the compliance profession in the coming years?
- Compliance shaping the future of the business: Compliance is about anticipating risks to protect the company, its bottom line, and its reputation. I see a full seat at the C-Suite table for all compliance professionals, equally valued as sales or marketing. Beyond that, in a world where millennials (clients and talents) value missions more than money, company culture and mission is critical, and compliance teams definitely have the expertise to bring to the table in this respect. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Culture report found that 86 percent of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work for a company whose mission and values align with their own.
- Compliance leading tech innovation: As we discussed, compliance needs real-time data to know its risks and measure its impact, but also to plan its future action. I see compliance teams moving quickly to the forefront of tech innovation. As the job can not be done without technology, the job will require bespoke tech developments, of which predictive analytics and artificial intelligence form an important part.
How will you contribute to the GAN blog, The Connected CCO, and which topics will you cover?
As compliance professionals, we all know what a compliance program is about. I want to write very concretely what I would have liked to read when I was working in-house (soft skills, governance, and practical tips to name a few topics).
My goal is to take a blunt look at the daily challenges, and to deliver a monthly (hopefully inspiring) idea to maximize compliance’s impact, particularly on the following themes:
- Building an effective team and making the most of all resources available (including those of other departments);
- Being heard (and listened to) at all levels of the organization;
- Making the most out of your budget and what technology has to offer.
I will give you a monthly piece of raw, boots-on-the-ground advice on how you can make the most out of your limited resources and time. It’s coming soon, so make sure you are signed up to receive notifications about the latest GAN content!