How SA’s compliance industry has evolved in 15 years

Richard Rattue

As independent compliance services provider Compli-Serve celebrates its 15th year of operation, managing director and industry veteran Richard Rattue reflects on the most significant changes affecting the industry in this time.

“First and foremost, attitudes to compliance have changed dramatically in the last 15 years,” says Rattue. “The Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) of 2004 was a watershed moment for the industry in South Africa. It ushered in the era of the compliance officer, as prior to this there was only a very limited compliance requirement.

“Those working with compliance issues used to be very much behind the scenes, and never really seen or heard from unless the regulator arrived.

“We’ve come a long way since then, and today compliance sits at the executive level, where it belongs. It is a far more demanding role now than it was in the past, as its importance has become duly recognised.

“Risk and compliance departments are now recognised as key stakeholders in the business, rather than simply the department to turn to when a crisis hits.”

Outsourced compliance

In 2003, Rattue realised that compliance skills were scarce and expensive for small and medium sized businesses to bring in full-time. The introduction of FAIS also allowed for the external compliance officer role, which paved the way for independent specialists such as Compli-Serve to provide regulatory compliance services and solutions to the financial sector.

What does the future hold?

“We’ve experienced over a decade of rapid regulatory changes, because we started off such a low base, but I think this is likely to slow down in the next 10 years,” says Rattue. “The Retail Distribution Review will probably represent the crest of the wave.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t massive changes ahead. “The fourth industrial revolution will impact on our industry and compliance officers will need to adapt to identify and monitor new risks that evolve out of this,” says Rattue.

“It’s crucial for anyone working in compliance to keep abreast of regulatory changes and trends, and to understand the context and broader implications of these.”

Compli-Serve, together with Juta and Company, has launched an online tool to assist the compliance industry with this requirement to stay informed. CompliNEWS provides access to all regulatory changes updates, together with industry-leading analysis on the significance and relevance of changes.



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