Suneeta Padda said it was ‘surprising’ that faced with the FCA some businesses are not engaged with the compliance function

Compliance must be embedded into all areas of the business, an expert has said.

During a speech by Howden Broking Group head of compliance and risk Suneeta Padda, at an Advantage Regulation meeting, she said compliance and risk officers must fulfil their role as trusted advisers and provide the oversight and assurance to the board.

“It’s surprising how people say ‘compliance is over there – they are the compliance people; we have nothing to do with that’.

“Do not give the impression that compliance is an imposition on the business. It is really important to portray that image that it is integrated and embedded,” she added.

Padda advised delegates, which included brokers and insurers, on how to handle the FCA’s approach to supervisory visits and shared Howden’s experience when it became the first firm to be subject to an FCA review.

She explained that the regulator used a ‘dive down’ approach to test the understanding of the staff and measure how well compliance was embedded into the system and controls of the business, using a particular area as an example.

Padda added: “They wanted to understand what happened at the point of someone coming and saying I want to buy some insurance and they followed that process and the money all the way down the line.

“From the minute it came through the door, how do you document it, where does it go, and how do you put in on the file.

“They are testing the process all the way down.”

Padda, who is due to go back to running her own consultancy, said: “It is very surprising, when you go through with people and take them through mock interviews in preparation for an FCA interview, how little some people are engaged with the compliance side because the business is their key practice.”