Role of the Compliance Specialist
The compliance specialist acts as the chief administrative officer of the company, and shares various responsibilities with the directors under the Companies Act. Compliance Specialists are tasked with ensuring that companies and other organizations are in compliance with any relevant regulations and standards. The compliance specialist implements and oversees corporate compliance with applicable laws and policies, both locally and at the federal level. The role provides for the “legal conscience of a board”, ensuring that the decisions it takes are reasoned properly and are in the best interests of the organization and its stakeholders.
Key skills for compliance specialist
Candidates should possess diplomacy, meticulous attention to detail, good numerical, organizational and time management skills and a genuine interest in business. Excellent computing, secretarial, interpersonal, team working and written/verbal communication skills are also important. Candidates should be able to learn laws and regulations from various jurisdictions of the world and be able to comprehend requirements applicable on the company and its directors.
- A Master’s Degree or equivalent
- A major in finance or business would be useful
- Relevant experience in law, ethics, organizational business, finance or statistical analysis
- It is normally essential to have gained previous professional administrative or commercial work experience, such as in accounts, insurance or office management.
Compliance Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
In ensuring that the company is in compliance with all relevant regulations and standards, Compliance Specialists are expected to perform a wide range of tasks. And while much of what to do is determined by the industry, there are some tasks common to most Compliance Specialists.
1. Companies House filings
- As compliance specialist, the task of filing the company documents at Companies House will normally be delegated to you. You keep track of all upcoming regulatory compliance requirements by the Companies Act. For example:
- You file details of significant changes in company share capital or administration. Information on any new shares allotted must be notified. Appointments, resignations and changes (e.g. home address) of directors or secretaries must be notified. When making changes, the company’s articles of association should be consulted to see if specific procedures need to be followed.
- You submit a confirmation statement/annual return every year. This confirms that the information Companies House holds about the company is accurate. Before filing the confirmation statement/annual return, you should check the information held by Companies House. If any information is out of date, you need to update it at the same time or before submitting the confirmation statement.
- You must file various other documents. These include:
- A directors’ report giving the name of the company secretary or director approving the accounts.
- Financial statements, including details of the company’s assets and liabilities. Micro-businesses are only required to produce a simple balance sheet and profit and loss account.
- A register of people with significant control. For example, anyone who owns more than 25% of the shares or 25% of the voting rights, or can appoint the majority of the directors.
2. Further Legal Requirements
You carry much of the responsibility for maintaining the company’s existence as a legal entity
The company’s statutory books and records must be maintained. The statutory books and records should include:
- a register of present and past directors and secretaries;
- a register of all shareholders, past and present, and their shareholdings;
- a register of any charges on the company’s assets;
- minutes of general meetings and board meetings.
- You are normally required to ensure the security of the company’s legal document which include:
- the certificate of incorporation, recording the formation of the company;
- the memorandum and articles of association (the company’s constitution);
- share certificates and stock transfers;
- the company’s seal (if it has one);
- certificates of the company’s change of name (if any);
- directors’ service contracts (if any).
3. Other responsibilities
- You normally take responsibility for summoning meetings of the directors and shareholders, and for ensuring that the proceedings are properly recorded.
- You must arrange a board meeting, if any director asks for one.
- You arrange AGMs (annual general meetings) for the company.
- You file maintenance and drafting basic correspondence, such as extracts from the board resolution, correspondence with banks and corporate secretarial service providers.
- You do research on various aspects of the business in the light of applicable laws and regulations and under the supervision of the company’s attorney(s).
4. Complementary roles
- Particularly in small companies, the compliance specialist is often expected to take on other duties as well. At all times, the compliance specialist’s principal responsibility is to the directors.
- Compliance specialists are often asked to take on responsibility for legal matters:
- You might be required to advise directors on their duties and to ensure they comply with the articles of association and corporate and other legislation, such as data protection and health and safety.
- You might be asked to act as a signatory on behalf of the board. For example, to sign leases or, more generally, on the bank account and statutory documents.
- You might be asked to take responsibility for arranging adequate insurance to protect the company and the directors. Company secretaries are also frequently involved in negotiations with outside advisers, including accountants and lawyers.
- Make sure that you do not exceed the actual authority given to you by the directors, when asked to agree a contract on your company's behalf.