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The $214 billion question

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

The projected annual cost of compliance to the world’s banking industry is $214 billion according to the Global True Cost of Compliance report by LexisNexis earlier this year. When you balance that with how your organisation is performing in compliance, does that seem like money well spent? If you care about how much you spend on compliance read on, we’ll explore why that cost is so high and what alternatives are available.

To start, let’s agree on two points, the first that your organisation wants to be compliant . Fines for non-compliance negatively impact your profitability and they damage your brand. None of us want to be in that place. Second point, there’s always going to be a cost associated with compliance. It’s a cost of doing business.

However, spending on compliance at current levels, is that necessary? Is that bill funding the best approach? We don’t think so. Let’s look at what drives that spending. The bulk of the cost is from manual labour and training new hires. The new personnel are needed to keep up with the increasing rate of regulatory demands. But here’s the thing, by trying to meet ever growing regulatory needs through the expansion of your operations teams, the labour costs are set to continually increase at pace. And you still won’t be coping efficiently with those regulatory needs.

Here in Marina, we think the over-reliance on labour is problematic for reasons beyond the rising costs. Using hiring as a tactic to keep up with regulations really limits your ability to react to change. Your agility is capped by the speed at which new joiners can be can acquired and trained. We believe that using compliance budgets for technology, instead of labour, provides better value. Technology makes you more resilient to shocks like the current pandemic. The research supports this, as illustrated in the graphic below (which is taken from the aforementioned Global True Cost of Compliance report), institutions that invest more in technology were impacted less negatively over the course of 2020 compared to those with lower levels of tech adoption.

Choosing the right technology is key of course. Investing in applications that empower your existing labour force will unlock the value within your subject matter experts. Systems that centralise, rather than silo, customer data will enable your teams to be more productive. Tools that automate lower value tasks will allow staff to focus where their expertise is needed most. Considered technology choices make it possible to mitigate Compliance and Operational risks while reducing the costs, not just for onboarding but for all business to business data processing.

What do you think? Agree, disagree, got an alternative view? Send us your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you on

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