Who’s Still Worried About Personal Liability?

Compliance Officers, Not as Much. Board Members, More than Ever.

So here’s something to chew on today: apparently compliance officers are less worried about personal liability these days (according to a study released Monday), but Board members surveyed say they are more worried about personal liability than they were last year.

The survey, DLA Piper’s 2017 Compliance & Risk Report: Compliance Grows Up,indicates compliance officers’ fears have been allayed by C&E program improvements and the increased prominence of the compliance function in their organizations. Board members, on the other hand, are unnerved when it comes to personal liability – 82 percent reported being more concerned than last year, vs. only 67 percent of the CO’s).

Here’s what else the Board members had to say:

They want better communication regarding compliance issues, and they don’t think they’re getting adequate compliance training.

DLA Piper’s annual report is always enlightening, but this year’s added focus on Board member responses adds, I think, some interesting and much-needed detail to a wide-angle shot of the compliance landscape.

Here are some other notable findings:

  • CCOs less concerned – As noted above, 67 percent of CCO respondents were at least somewhat concerned about personal liability, down from 81 percent in 2016. Eighty-two percent of directors, surveyed for the first time this year, were at least somewhat concerned.
  • Adapting to regulator changes – Seventy-one percent of respondents said they had made changes to their company’s compliance program based on recent regulatory events, compared with 21 percent a year earlier.
  • Greater CCO satisfaction with resources – Eighty-four percent of respondents said they have sufficient resources, clout and board access to support their ability to effectively perform their jobs, up from 77 percent last year.
  • Boards agree, to a point – A comparable percentage of directors (86 percent) said compliance has sufficient resources. But 53 percent of directors said compliance had sufficient resources to a great extent, compared to only 29 percent of executives.
  • Monitoring improves, but still a weak point – At 46 percent, monitoring was the top choice picked by CCOs when asked which area of their programs was the weakest, down from 66 percent in 2016.

Click here to download the full report.

About the 2017 Compliance & Risk Report

DLA Piper distributed surveys in the first quarter of 2017 and received responses from 137 corporate in-house counsel, compliance professionals and members of boards of directors. Forty-three percent of the respondents held the title of Chief Compliance Officer or GC/CLO and nearly 40 percent came from companies with more than US$1 billion in revenue. Fifty-two percent of respondents’ revenue comes from North America, followed by 21 percent from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, 15 percent from Asia-Pacific and 13 percent from Latin America. Forty percent of respondents represented publicly traded companies, while 60 percent were private.

Subsequent qualitative interviews were conducted to add commentary and insights to the analysis of the results.

About DLA Piper (

DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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