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Compliance Officer Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

Compliance officers and inspectors recommend laws designed to protect the public and ensure these laws are enforced.

Compliance officer specialize in environmental, worker rights, and licensing laws. Even though compliance officers have different specialties, they share common duties.

Compliance officers investigate complaints. They collect information about the complaint from individuals filing it, talk with the parties listed in the complaint, and if the complaint involves the environment, visit the site. Compliance officers conduct surveys, collect facts, and review records. They review safety laws and inspect organizations under their jurisdiction.

Compliance officers maintain records. Some records contain the survey results while others detail inspection results. Compliance officers keep their report investigations and present these reports to people and businesses under investigation. If rules have been violated, compliance officers suggest changes and sometimes issue citations. They instruct company representatives, so these companies are clear about the compliance officer's instructions. Inspectors will follow up with companies and individuals during follow up visits. Sometimes compliance officers are called to testify in court or public hearings.

Compliance officers usually specialize. For example, environmental compliance officers supervise hazardous waste disposal. Licensing examiners review professional licenses applications to make sure applicants meet all the necessary requirements. Equal opportunity officers investigate workplace discrimination complaints and supervise employers suspected of discriminating while seeking new employees.

Government property inspectors review contracts, investigate fraud, and examine property. Financial examiners monitor real estate and securities transactions. Suspicious sales are investigated.

Compliance Officer Job Duties

Compliance officers work in a variety of capacities as well as a variety of industries. The job duties for a compliance officer may vary greatly from industry to industry. The following are just a few of the various job duties of a compliance officer.
  • The primary responsibility of a compliance officer is to prevent illegal, unethical or improper conduct in a company or organization.
  • Compliance officers are required to interact with individuals from many organizational departments and must communicate with them the issues related to compliance. Compliance officers help with the investigation and resolution of the issues via existing channels. A compliance officer may seek the legal advice of the Corporate attorney in addressing legal or compliance issues that are difficult to resolve.
  • Depending on the organization, a compliance officer may have serve in several different capacities such as Privacy Officer, Bank Secrecy Act/OFAC Officer, Community Reinvestment Act Officer, and Bank Safety and Security Officer.
  • Compliance officers carry out the revision of standards of conduct and development so as to ensure compliance policies, procedures, regulations and practices are always up to date.
  • The compliance officer is responsible for initiating investigative procedures in case there is a violation of policies, procedures, regulations or rules.
  • If a compliance officer identifies a risk or vulnerability in an organizations compliance program, he or she is must develop effective and expedient plans for taking corrective action. He or she is also responsible for teaching and training members of the compliance committee on how to avoid future risk.
  • The compliance activities, procedures and policies of all departments of a company or organization are monitored and reviewed by the compliance officer.
  • The compliance officer carries out evaluations and provides periodic reviews of compliance activities in an organization. He or she must ensure that all the activities are running smoothly in line with the compliance plan.
  • Compliance officers are required to report both current (and possibly future) violations of rules, regulations and laws to authorized law enforcement agencies.
Chief Compliance Officer

With substantial job experience, many compliance officers will eventually be promoted to the position of Chief Compliance Officer. The Chief Compliance Officer usually reports directly to the CEO of the company as well as the Board of Trustees' Corporate Compliance Committee. He or she monitors the compliance efforts of a an entire organization or company and provides detailed reports based on this study to his or her superiors on a regular basis. The Chief Compliance Officer makes recommendations on compliance-related matters to the senior management team and the Board of Trustees. The Corporate Compliance Committee and Chief Compliance Officer are provide the authority to effectuate necessary actions to carry out the compliance program of an organization effectively.