3 Key Takeaways from ICA Live: Europe

Posted on May 20, 2022
Written by Natalie Davies

Bringing together professionals from across the compliance, AML and financial crime prevention space, the International Compliance Association’s flagship event took place at the Oval this week. And what better place to make our return to in-person events than ICA Live Europe? 

We were delighted to sponsor the lunchtime session at the conference, with two of the NorthRow team on hand to talk about all things compliance software. With some fantastic networking opportunities and the chance to catch up with the ICA team in person, we had a fantastic two days back at a live event! 

Hundreds of regulatory and financial crime compliance professionals in the UK and Europe descended on South London for the two-day conference, and we’ve handpicked a selection of takeaways from the keynotes, panel discussions and seminars that we felt were most thought-provoking. 

In this article, we’ve highlighted our three key takeaways from ICA Live.

Takeaway #1: The Rapid Pace of Change in Compliance

The pandemic caused an almost overnight change to every corner of our lives: both personally and professionally. We witnessed an incredible acceleration of trends that were already in existence as we transitioned to remote work. Entire digital transformation strategies were fast-tracked in a matter of days as almost every organisation sought some semblance of business as usual. 

Notwithstanding the impact of the pandemic on digital transformation, how consumers interact with products and services changed too. 

In particular, as brick and mortar stores closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the surge in online shopping and eCommerce led to a remarkable increase in the amount and frequency of online payments. 

And for many, this change in behaviour has become a permanent fixture for consumers beyond national lockdowns and mandatory store closures. The typical British high street has become a ghost town as more and more of us choose to shop online for ease and convenience. 

As entire businesses moved their services online, or increased the same, they had to ensure the correct and compliant legal documentation and processes were in place, such as website T&Cs, privacy and cookie policies, data protection systems, payment security and so on.

Takeaway #2: ESG Compliance is Becoming Increasingly Critical

As momentum for more sustainable finance continues to gather pace, organisations continue to place more scrutiny than ever before on the entities and individuals with whom they operate. 

Crucially, the UK’s Green Financing Roadmap and subsequent Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) legislation shouldn’t be seen as another burden for compliance teams, but a true opportunity to ensure the delivery of sustainable outcomes for customers, clients and communities. 

In developing ESG guidance, regulators are encouraging compliance teams and businesses to look more closely at their health and safety, environmental and wider human rights practices to ensure compliance not only with legislation, but also with moral and ethical expectations.

Takeaway #3: Key Skills for the Compliance Officer of the Future 

The role of compliance is one that is continually evolving. New legislation, updated regulations and improvements in ways of working have all directly impacted the very nature of compliance in the last two years alone. 

Wednesday’s keynote session at ICA Live touched on the key skills for the compliance officer of the future. Three of these in particular stood out to us: a sense of curiosity, tech and data literacy, and agility. 

By nature, most compliance professionals are innately curious: they seek to understand context, to develop strategies and influence outcomes. Understanding the intricacies of every situation will continue to be key for compliance teams as they seek to design and implement effective advice, controls and procedures that enable compliant behaviour within firms and deliver positive outcomes for customers. 

Secondly, technology and data literacy in compliance will continue to be a principal skill for the future. We touched on the rapid rate of change in the compliance space in a previous point and the rise in tech-driven compliance teams has not been left behind. The goal of most technological tools in any profession is to enable us to do our jobs better, prioritise delivering value and allow us to do things differently. 

And this is no different with compliance tools and technology.

Technology must provide a streamlined and faster approach to compliance processes, shorten time to revenue and allow talented teams to focus on the complex cases that most require their breadth of expertise. 

Similarly, using data to drive decision-making and inform change will become a key part of the compliance team of the future’s role. How can professionals use this data to be proactive, predictive and preventative in managing and anticipating risk? 

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is renowned for saying: “change is the only constant in life.” For compliance teams, this couldn’t be more true – especially in 2022. Being nimble, able to demonstrate agility and remarkable resilience is what makes good compliance teams great. Being able to respond to different situations and be able to think in a different way rather than doing things the same way they have always been done will continue to be a cornerstone to success in compliance for years to come.