BY Fraser Tennant
Ethics and compliance are the key areas in which chief compliance officers (CCOs) need to improve, according to a new report by KPMG.
In its ‘2019 CCO Survey: Insights for the future of ethics & compliance’ – based on a survey of 220 CCOs representing the largest organisations in various industries – KPMG notes that while most organisations take ethics and compliance risks seriously, the functions need to work on achieving a “trusted advisor” relationship with business front lines.
The report also identifies the top five areas where CCOs plan enhancements to their enterprise-wide ethics and compliance activities: investigations (65 percent), monitoring and testing (65 percent), data analytics (32 percent), regulatory change management (32 percent), and reporting and data visualisation (32 percent).
“There is a growing consensus across all industries regarding the key areas organisations need to focus on and enhance, not only in ethics and investigations but also on the maturity of ethics and compliance programmes,” said Amy Matsuo, KPMG principal and regulatory insights national leader.
“This is likely driven not only by a commonality of risks but also converging business models.”
Despite this, the report found that board of director engagement in ethics and compliance oversight and supervision is strong, and business line accountability for ethics and compliance is well-established.
In order to improve their ethics and compliance functions, KPMG suggest that organisations: (i) revamp investigations processes, case management, reporting and communication; (ii) embed accountability via ethics and compliance-driven employee metrics; (ii) continue to drive integrated governance and reporting across ethics and compliance, legal and HR departments; (iv) evaluate available data and the integrity of that data for use in predictive analytics enterprise-wide; (v) establish guardrails and new risk processes for evolving business digitalisation, data analytics and automation; and (vi) invest in technology to drive greater data access.
“Increased public awareness and regulatory focus – along with market pressures for greater agility and real-time responsiveness to identify misconduct – are driving organisations to improve their investigations function,” continues Ms Matsuo. “Integrating investigation activities more closely with ethics and compliance risk management by enhancing investigation reporting and investing in new technology, such as AI, can help to consistently identify and analyse root causes and trends and improve the production of investigation resolutions.”