The rise of ‘compliance burnout’

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, it’s important to recognise the often-overlooked struggles of compliance officers. These professionals play a crucial role in ensuring adherence to a labyrinth of regulations and safeguarding the integrity of financial institutions. However, the mounting pressures of their roles are pushing many to the brink, leading to a worrying trend of burnout and exits from the profession.

The weight of responsibility

Compliance officers are entrusted with immense responsibility but often lack the commensurate power and recognition. A growing volume of banking regulations has exacerbated the workload, creating an environment ripe for burnout. One veteran compliance officer, who spent years in top-tier banks, reported experiencing a severe breakdown after relentless demands from the Financial Conduct Authority. “It was brutal..It keeps getting pushed down your throat that you are the risk owner.,” he shared. The stress and lack of support led him to leave not just his job but the entire sector.

Increasing regulatory burden

High-profile scandals and financial mishaps, such as the collapse of Archegos Capital in 2021, have intensified scrutiny and pressure on compliance teams. The sheer volume and complexity of new regulations have surged, elevating both the stakes and the risk of burnout. Compliance professionals are tasked with navigating these ever-evolving rules, often with insufficient support and dwindling resources.

Mental health under siege

A survey by Compliancy Group in 2022 revealed that nearly 60% of compliance staff felt burned out, citing lack of control over outcomes and the fear of making mistakes as primary stressors. Despite the increasing demand for compliance skills, with employment expected to rise significantly, the toll on mental health is undeniable. Furthermore, the personal accountability and consequences for failures are driving many away from the profession.

The impact of economic pressure

The tough economic climate has further strained compliance departments. Budget cuts and frozen training funds have demoralised staff, leading to widespread dissatisfaction. A survey by WorkFusion found that 74% of compliance departments were unhappy with their staffing levels, and a similar sentiment is echoed by regulators themselves, with many reporting underpayment and excessive workloads.

A global issue

The burnout epidemic is not confined to the UK. Across the globe, regulators and compliance professionals face similar challenges. The European Central Bank, US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and other regulatory bodies grapple with staff burnout and toxic workplace cultures. The constant evolution of regulatory regimes leaves many feeling beaten down, with no end in sight. Systemic changes are needed to address the root causes of burnout and to provide the necessary support for these vital roles.

How Stand on The Right can help

While Stand on The Right cannot resolve all the issues plaguing the compliance sector, it can significantly ease the burden. By offering innovative solutions and tools designed to streamline compliance processes, Stand on The Right helps reduce the workload and stress associated with regulatory adherence. This, in turn, allows compliance officers to focus more on strategic initiatives and less on administrative burdens, fostering a more balanced and healthy work environment.

As mental health awareness grows, it is imperative to recognise the unique challenges faced by compliance officers. By addressing these issues head-on and providing better support systems, we can help ensure that these crucial professionals remain engaged, healthy, and effective in their roles. Stand on The Right is committed to playing its part in this mission, making life a bit easier for those on the front lines of compliance. Get in touch to find out more.

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