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More needs to be done on African compliance

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African regulators need to work together to ensure the continent complies with regulations.
This came out of the second Annual Southern Africa GRC Summit organised by Thomson Reuters, where regulatory trends on the continent were discussed.
Sneha Shah, MD: Africa at Thomson Reuters, comments: “As the global regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Africa-based regulators are looking for opportunities to work more closely together in order to present a more unified voice.’
“A significant improvement has already taken place in African countries that have embarked on structural adjustment programs. However, more needs to be done, and regulators of the region should continue to project a clear message to the market-place that they are committed to address present obstacles,” she says.
“In 2014 the world of financial services was once again dominated by regulation, regulatory change and enforcement action. Firms and their compliance officers are facing change, change and more change, all with the threat of ever bigger fines combined with an increasingly wide range of other sanctions being used by regulators to drive home the need for good compliance and good customer outcomes.”
Shah cites findings of the 2014 Thomson Reuters Rising Costs of Non-Compliance report. “The findings revealed that while monetary fines are still rapidly growing as a result of persistent non-compliance, they are not seen to have changed the underlying behavior, with many firms considering financial penalties to be part of the standard costs of doing business.
“Compliance officers in Africa have to develop strong working regulatory relationships, maintain good management information, remain focused on product design and governance to achieve good customer outcomes. Furthermore, they should continue to identify, manage and mitigate conflicts of interests, keep an eye on financial crime and contribute to shift the supervisory approach in complex firms,” she adds.