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Compliance Officer Job Description

Written by: Ethan Cumming
Published on: 12 Dec 2018

compliance officer job description

  • Compliance Officer Job Description

    Compliance is a burgeoning area of expertise in the legal profession, closely linked with similar preventative sectors like Risk and Regulatory.

    If you have a firm understanding of the rules, laws and regulatory requirements regarding a specific industry and want to make a move into legal without necessarily being a qualified law practitioner, a role within a compliance team, as a Compliance Officer, Analyst or Manager role could be for you.

    This Compliance Officer job description highlights some of the common responsibilities and frequently desired requirements of individuals in Officer jobs.

  • What does a Compliance Officer do?

    Compliance Officers play a pivotal role in mitigating risks through the design, implementation and enforcement of company policies and procedures that ensure all business activities are undertaken within the boundaries of the law and compliant with the rules and restrictions set out by regulatory bodies.

  • Where do Compliance Officers work?

    Those in Risk and Compliance jobs can be hired internally as part of a company’s in-house legal team, but they can also be external consultants as part of a law firm. The work itself is closer to that of an in-house counsel: preventative in nature with key duties involving drafting policies and providing advice and training.

    The roles can suit Paralegals and Lawyers alike and, as a law qualification is not always required, are often seen as lower-threshold entry points to an in-house career. Compliance Officer jobs work closely with highly regulated, cutting edge sectors and those subject to frequently changing laws like Healthcare, Health and Safety, Financial Services, Data Protection and Technology.

  • Responsibilities of a Compliance Officer

    The primary objective of those working in compliance management is to mitigate and manage risks, with key duties likely to include:

    • Development and implementation of company policies and procedures that meet national and international laws as well as sector-specific rules and regulations outlined by relevant regulatory agencies.
    • Ensuring that employees, management and board level directors operate with the due diligence and integrity required to protect the company against legal risk.
    • Advising relevant teams on legal or regulatory issues regarding sales, marketing, vendors, products or projects.
    • Designing and delivering training to employees, management and the board regarding compliance procedures.
    • Staying abreast of any changes to laws or sector specific regulations and keeping the rest of the company up to date with any changes through communication and training.
    • Providing support to any investigations or audits into company compliance.
    • Working closely with HR and management teams for consistent enforcement of policies and when responding to compliance violations.
    • Drafting and reviewing legal documents.

  • Do you need a law degree to be a Compliance Officer?

    The qualifications required to enter Compliance job types vary between different roles. While a Compliance officer will usually sit within the in-house legal team of a company or be employed by a law firm, a law qualification is not always a prerequisite.

    The job title should give away whether a qualified lawyer is required to fill the role; Compliance Officer, Analyst or Manager jobs often do not require the formal legal qualification that Compliance Lawyer or Solicitor roles do.

    Compliance professionals reduce legal risk through the improvement and implementation of operations and policies: while knowledge of the law is essential and legal training can influence how they provide consultancy, Compliance Officers or Lawyers are not necessarily actively practicing law. Lawyers are responsible for defining the limits of legality and illegality; Compliance Officers are responsible for defining and enforcing the policies and processes that keep a business within those limits.

  • Which skills does a Compliance Officer need?

    • Ability to anticipate and avert downstream legal risks.
    • Industry specific expertise.
    • Solid grasp of the law and sector specific rules, guidelines and regulations. For example, a Compliance Officer working in data protection will need sound understanding of GDPR and other cyber security regulations.
    • Communication and relationship building skills required to work closely with legal and non-legal colleagues and management.
    • Sound understanding of administrative and contractual law.
    • HR and business management knowledge.
    • Experience reviewing and drafting contracts and policies.

    If you have a flawless understanding of the rules imposed on your industry, the ability to communicate, teach and enforce compliance to these regulations and the foresight to mitigate risks, a career as a Compliance Officer could be your opportunity to break into the legal profession without the conventional qualifications.

  • Compliance Officer Jobs

    Search and apply for the latest Compliance jobs today on TotallyLegal, whether you're seeking London based roles, homeworking remote opportunities, or further afield. 

    Would you like to take part in an interview about your experience as a Compliance Officer? If so, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch on to find out more.