Brexit, Trump and KYC: How is compliance shaping up in 2017?

Melaine Campbell, Managing Director at Dun & Bradstreet, discusses her compliance predictions for the year ahead

It is hard to ignore the impact that the one of the most turbulent political years in recent memory might have, not least on world of compliance. The overarching theme from the second half of 2016 seems to be countries making moves to do what’s best for themselves in regulation, rather than what works for the majority. From Trump to Brexit and all the regulations in between, 2017 will certainly bring uncertainty to the regulatory landscape…

In the US, Donald Trump has given some indication on his perspective on regulatory compliance: to eliminate regulations which are not in the public interest. In his economic policy platform he called for “a new modern regulatory framework” and outlined his vision on regulations proposing to “reform the entire regulatory code to ensure that we keep jobs and wealth in America” as well as “issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations that are not compelled by Congress or public safety.”

Since becoming President-elect, Donald Trump’s stance on Dodd-Frank has been scaled back, although it is apparent he still intends to dismantle the federal law passed in 2010. This deregulation would mean fewer stringent compliance checks and a rethinking of how to ‘red tape’ banks.

Furthermore, while Trump is concerned about burdensome regulations, he also is concerned about fighting terrorism and other crimes such as drug trafficking. His objective, as is the case with any administration, is to disrupt the financial flow to terrorism groups and other criminals.

Closer to home, it is also hard to say how Brexit will impact international regulation immediately, but it is clear from Theresa May’s speech on 17‘th January that the UK will leave the single market, revoke EU laws and set its own regulations in due course. As a result, there will be an even greater demand in the short and medium term for the compliance functions for businesses due to the increasingly likely outlook of complex regulatory negotiations.

In the midst of significant potential change in 2017, it will be vital for companies to make use of the latest data and insights to ensure that they are up to date with international requirements. Know Your Customer (KYC) will be vital, both from a compliance and business perspective; the compliance team can share insights with the rest of the organisation about potentially risky partners and prospects. Data must be current, accurate and be drawn from more than one source – such as using online news sources to support public records. Companies will also need to take care over how they use data, and be aware of possible changes to privacy laws in different territories. Working with a well-informed and compliant data provider will help to address this.

There is a view that even if regulation is scaled back, companies’ own compliance efforts will remain strong. There is growing acknowledgement in the business community of the importance of remaining compliant to demonstrate corporate social responsibility, and attract both customers and the best new talent. Through their compliance efforts, businesses can play a role in disrupting terrorist and corrupt organisations. By pursuing ethical and compliant growth, businesses can not only benefit themselves, but make a positive difference to the world.

Author: Dylan Jones

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