It's no secret that regulatory oversight is increasing everywhere in the financial services industry. In fact, one of the articles that we reference this week speaks of the "growth of a cottage industry of lawyers, compliance experts and other consultants," characterizing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as a "jobs bill" that has the "compliance industry gearing up for a jobs bonanza."
Whether or not it should be characterized as a "jobs bonanza," Dodd-Frank deserves much of the credit for today's amplified focus on regulation and compliance. However, there are any number of other factors that can also be considered instrumental in enhancing the profile of those persons charged with performing regulatory control functions for the financial services industry. Congressional scrutiny resulting from the market events of 2007 and 2008, the demise of more than one financial institution, the computerization of securities trading and regulatory surveillance, and the general state of the economy have all played a part in the growing realization that those responsible for compliance in the financial services industry play a critical role that cannot and should not be understated. Compliance officers, internal and external regulatory counsel, accountants, and operations professionals are now seen as critical players in the effort to assure that the problems of the recent past do not reoccur, and that the financial system remains fair, healthy and robust. Senior executives are not only expected to focus on the success of their businesses, but also on making sure that everyone follows the rules.
The challenge, of course, is keeping up with the never-ending flow of new requirements and regulations. Dodd-Frank alone mandates hundreds of new rules, and regulatory agencies responding to events such as "flash crashes," insider trading convictions, Ponzi schemes and the like have added many more. The expectation for firms to continuously improve and enhance internal compliance policies and procedures is greater than ever. Indeed, this past week the Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, one of the industry's leading self-regulatory organizations, to improve some of its internal compliance policies and procedures.
Earlier this month we passed the fifth anniversary of this publication. In that time we have tried to provide summaries of and links to many of the most important regulatory events of the preceding week in an easy to use and time saving manner. Our goal, of course, is to lighten the burden a bit for all of you who must keep up with these matters. We hope that our efforts have been successful and we continue to strive to make this publication as helpful and effective as possible. And we hope that you will continue to let us know how we are doing, and how we can do things better.