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CEO Update: Compliance, risk and the growing burden on organisations

It’s hard to comprehend we’re almost half-way through another year. Reflecting on the first half - one of the consistent themes (and it’s not new) is the increasing complexity of the business environment in which we operate, and the growing cost on organisations and certainly on nearly all of our clients, in navigating the growing list of compliance and risk management issues.

In March, Directors and fraud experts, along with Bartier Perry Partners Shawn Skyring and Rebecca Hegarty, spoke to clients at a firm event about the ever more sophisticated and complex ways organisations were being targeted by cyber fraudsters globally and at times internally through or by employees.

As Corporate & Commercial Partner Rebecca Hegarty has highlighted, the demands and expectations on Executives and Directors to not only mitigate and manage risks but prevent incidents is only growing.

We’re also seeing a significant uplift in new workplace regulations from wage underpayment to new right to disconnect laws.

Workplace Law & Culture Partner James Mattson has argued complying with some of these new workplace regulations may prove extremely complex and challenging.

An important aspect of compliance is that it’s not simply just a regulatory or legal issue but one that brings personal and organisational reputational risk.

Regulators are increasingly proactive in the way they use publicity rather than simply the courts to prosecute their case.

In this regulated and complex environment, some business owners are forming the view that opting out of their business is their best option.

In a recent media article Corporate & Commercial Partner Michael Cossetto suggested those businesses unwilling or unable to manage the growing list of compliance requirements were adding to a rise in mid-market mergers and acquisitions.

Many of these new laws and compliance requirements are necessary and welcomed in our broader community. Regulators are well within their rights to enforce them.

The challenge though is how small to medium-sized organisations and not for profits, in particular, manage an increasingly complex matrix of requirements, whilst also operating with (sometimes severe) resource limitations, e.g., budget, headcount and time constraints.

In all the advice our team has been providing in recent months the consistent theme is prevention is far better than any possible cure. Not simply being across a compliance or risk management issue but knowing what kind of specific challenge it could bring up for your organisation.

That’s where those informal phone calls or conversations with the Bartier Perry team are so important. I’d encourage all our clients to feel they can have these at any time.

For our part they’re not only key to building strong ongoing client relationships but ensuring that as a firm we don’t just solve problems – we also help prevent them.

Author: Riana Steyn