Despite the above, some companies are still reluctant to engage a compliance professional. As recruiters specialized in compliance profiles, we often hear complaints about the cost that compliance brings to a company. However, this cost should not be your biggest concern.
Regulators such as FSMA, NBB, Data protection authority, … oversee the correct application of regulation by the companies. They can provide the necessary comfort regarding their correct interpretation. Supervisors consider communication to be an essential tool to make clear what the rules are.
But if the rules are not followed, a supervisor must act with sanctions. Such sanctions are primarily a punishment for the offender, but they also have a dissuasive effect on other potential offenders. This is considerably reinforced by a nominative publication. And that, of course, is already the first major risk: reputational damage!
On top of that, there are also costs involved, either as a fine or as an out-of-court settlement. These costs can be very high, from several tens of thousands to several hundreds of thousands of euros. Earlier this week, the FSMA published its annual report of 2021. In this report, they mention that they have accepted merely 19 out-of-court settlements, but these resulted in proceeds of almost € 1.2 million.
Moreover, and this can certainly not be underestimated: once a breach of the regulations has been identified, the company must take the necessary steps to ensure that this will not recur in the future. Remediation programs or procedures to regain previously revoked licenses, are very expensive and time-consuming.
Finally, criminal sanctions may also be imposed.
In other words, the relative cost of onboarding a compliance officer is dwarfed by the comfort this person provides to the company or by the possible cost and impact of sanctions.
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