Major Roles in Banking



The role of compliance is an independent function that identifies, assesses, advises on, monitors and reports on the bank’s risk of legal or regulatory sanctions, financial loss, or loss to reputation the bank may suffer as a result of its failure to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, codes of conduct and standards of good practice.

Major job responsibilities

  • Ensure the bank operates legally in compliance with regulatory and internal requirements.
  • Communicate closely with regulators and law enforcement agencies.
Policy setting/formulation
  • Establish a compliance policy.
  • Ensure that it is observed and report to senior management on its implementation progress.
  • Review the compliance policy annually to make sure it is appropriate and up to date.
  • Establish a disciplinary policy for lack of compliance.
  • Establish a surveillance policy of staff communication.
  • Communicate the policy and processes.
  • Provide training and certification to bank staff.
Reporting and review
  • Submit an annual report to the board of directors or a committee of the board.
  • Report promptly to the board of directors or a committee of the board on any material breaches of law, rules and standards.
  • Report suspicious transactions to regulators.
  • Submit ad hoc reports required by regulators.
  • Ensure the relevant staff members are properly licensed.

Relevant professional qualifications

Professional Qualifications under HKMA’s Enhanced Competency Framework:

Other banking qualifications issued by the HKIB:

Important skills and knowledge

Banking business and financial market knowledge
  • Thorough understanding of business goals, operating procedures and desk manuals
  • Product knowledge
  • Knowledge of regtech products (eKYC, remote onboarding, AI in transaction monitoring)
  • MS Office skills
  • External name screening software (World-Check, Lexus-Nexus)
  • External transaction monitoring software (Actimize)
Legal and regulatory knowledge
  • Solid, up-to-date knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements, including sanctions
  • Interpretation of regulatory requirements
  • Investigative skills
  • Knowledge of financial crimes and fraud detection
Communication with staff and senior management
  • Excellent communication skills, written and spoken
  • Well versed in legal writing
  • Attention to detail

A day in the life of a
Compliance Specialist

Review MIS reports on the compliance status and contraventions identified.
Study cases that have breached laws and requirements, and communicate with the regulators and concerned teams in a timely manner to rectify the breach.
Keep in close contact with regulators to address any regulatory concerns or queries.
Provide advice on rule interpretations and clarifications.
Conduct briefings to update staff on legal and regulatory requirements and internal controls.
Follow legal and regulatory news to assess the impacts on the bank’s operation.

Typical career path

Compliance specialists can move horizontally to internal audit, operational risk management and even operations, or move up vertically.

Specialist functions under compliance may include operating a “control room” to manage/oversee staff dealings in financial products, as well as potential conflicts of interest regarding products such as initial public offerings and debt origination. A specialist can also join the surveillance team, which monitors staff communication and resolves customer disputes on transactions that involve mis-selling.

The Chief Compliance Officer leads the legal and compliance functions of the bank and is a member of the senior management team. This position is a board-level appointment.