More than half of compliance officers anticipate their personal liability will increase this year, according to a new survey.

Thomson Reuters polled more than 600 compliance practitioners from financial services firms around the world and found that 53 percent of them believe their personal liability has increased.

The perceived increase in personal liability may be a contributing factor to the escalating costs associated with senior compliance officers. Sixty-six percent of the respondents said they expect the cost of senior compliance professionals to increase in 2014.

The survey also highlighted various pressures that compliance functions face, such as shifting supervisory expectations, the volume of regulatory change and the many large implementation programs needed to deal with major complex legislation.

The number of compliance teams spending more than 10 hours a week tracking and analyzing regulatory developments has nearly doubled in the past year in the U.S. (25 percent in 2014, compared to 13 percent in 2013) and the Middle East (18 percent in 2014 versus 8 percent in 2013).

Three-quarters of the survey respondents expect an increase in the amount of information published by regulators.

“The ability to comply with confidence and transparency is integral to building trust in the financial services sector,” said Chris Perry, managing director of risk at Thomson Reuters. “Compliance leaders are being held to increased accountability amidst an ever-increasing volume of regulation, the expectation to move and comply fast, and the exposure to record fines for non-compliance, now regularly totaling in the billions. In this time of heightened scrutiny, it has never been more important that boards support their compliance function and its senior leadership with the budget, resources and tools to help ensure transparency, trust and a lasting change in behaviors throughout firms.”

As in the previous year, 26 percent of compliance teams spent less than an hour a week amending reports for the board. Globally, compliance functions again reported spending very little time liaising with the internal audit function, a persistently repeated finding which is a growing cause of concern.

The competition for senior, experienced compliance officers is likely to increase as regulators seek to incrase in-house skills. In addition, 64 percent of respondents thought that the total compliance team budget would increase in 2014 and 20 percent of respondents thought the total compliance team budget would be significantly more in 2014. The year-over-year results suggest that not only are compliance salaries rising across the board but also that the size of compliance teams may be growing.

Working in an ever-changing regulatory environment has become the norm for financial services firms.  According to the survey, the expectation is that there will be a further increase in the amount of information published by regulators, though the expectation has eased slightly since last year’s results.

In 2013, 81 percent of the survey respondents expected an increase in the amount of information published, while for 2014, expectations have eased slightly, with 75 percent expecting more to be published.

Reporting in all forms is set to increase in importance in 2014. Regulators have placed a stronger focus on culture, conduct risk and tone at the top, and by association they have raised expectations with a firm’s abilities to identify, measure and report.

According to the survey, 26 percent of compliance teams spent less than an hour a week editing reports for the board (compared to 26 percent in 2013).

For a detailed report on the survey’s findings, click here.

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