UPF-IDEC and Universidad Carlos III in Madrid develop a postgraduate course in Compliance

UPF-IDEC and Universidad Carlos III in Madrid have created a new postgraduate course in Compliance for the coming academic year, a management role that is increasingly sought after in the workplace.

Increasing output and complexity of regulations, both in Spain and internationally, has placed companies at risk, especially since the modification of the Penal Code to introduce aspects of Economic and Business Penal Law such as criminal liability of legal persons. With this new legal situation, the company can be penalized if any employee commits a crime due to insufficient monitoring by management. “This is really a new profession, since regulations in the business sphere are much more complex than they were a few years ago. As well as the civil and commercial code, companies now have to take the penal code, legislation relating to new technologies, the environment, databases and tax regulations in all countries they operate in into account. If you factor in the severity of sanctions imposed for non-compliance, it is important that companies have an expert to consult”, said Alain Casanovas, a lawyer and partner at KPMG, and codirector of the Postgraduate in Compliance, taught by UPF-IDEC of Pompeu Fabra University in tandem with Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

Due to the many financial and accounting scandals that have come to light in recent years, countries have multiplied the number of national and international regulations aimed at guaranteeing transparency and compliance with the law. “Today, managing a business is a high-risk profession and no manager wants to run the risk of not complying with regulations due to the actions of an employee or the simple lack of awareness of a specific regulation in a certain country. And so they hire an expert who can manage the company’s compliance,” Casanovas continued. Compliance is not only concerned with acting in an ethical and transparent manner but also ensuring that suppliers and sub-contracted parties do the same. Correct and responsible management has become a strategic asset for many companies.

Compliance Officer, a new role

In this context emerges the Compliance Officer, the person responsible for supervising and managing all questions related to regulatory compliance. The main functions of the compliance officer are risk identification, analysing statutory and regulatory changes, developing preventative and corrective measures, training management and employees so that they are aware of and can apply all regulations, and regular revision of updated procedures. Suitable profiles for this position are those with legal, control and supervision background, with an ethical component. This is a specialization, Casanoval confirmed, which has not yet arrived to universities and for which extra training is certainly needed.