Interim Management

Why interim management?

There are many reasons why a position in Compliance is not filled. Longer illnesses, the short-term cancellation of an already selected candidate or the duration of a selection process can create such a situation. However, if the regulatory importance or workload of the team makes it necessary to fill the position at least temporarily, interim management can help.
My offer in this area is to fill a specific position in the department on a temporary basis and to handle all the tasks that need to be done at this point, for example:

For all these activities, I offer many years of experience with which I can quickly adapt to the client’s specific circumstances and fill the position until a permanent replacement is found.

Perform 2nd-level-controls

On the one hand, these controls are routine activities where the timing, frequency and scope are determined throughout the year and their timely execution is monitored by the auditor. On the other hand, they are the starting point for further analysis and advice to the business units on how to improve their operating processes. They are referred to as 2nd level because they are carried out downstream of the 1st level controls of the divisions and other departments and are intended to determine whether these are effective.

My experience in the area of 2nd level controls extends to various business units: Retail Banking, Private Banking, Investment Banking and Investment Funds. If the client specifies a particular methodology, I apply it. If there are no specifications, I know from experience the typical weak points. I know how to filter meaningful samples from large amounts of data, discuss the anomalies with the specialist department, handle internal reporting and ensure that the control has a constructive outcome.

Check marketing materials

In marketing documents the completely different worlds of marketing and compliance often collide. In addition to many formal requirements, the aim is to avoid empty words, empty phrases, translation traps, questionably extrapolated profit forecasts and unbalanced statements about the opportunities and risks of an investment. Here, compliance is the gatekeeper and the corrective that ensures a balanced product presentation that can stand up to the strict eyes of the supervisory authority and, if necessary, in court.

I am very familiar with the very detailed supervisory practice on this topic from many audits and I have also supervised the frequently practised outsourcing of this activity. If there is an in-house guideline for marketing material, it is initially the yardstick, but is itself also reviewed.

Participate in new product approval processes

Since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, so-called toxic products have become the focus of public and regulatory attention and compliance is directly involved in the approval processes that a planned new product has to undergo. Compliance checks, among other things, whether the new product involves inappropriate risks for the planned target group and whether it is perhaps constructed in such a way that the investor always loses and the bank always wins.

I was involved in many of these approval processes. I am familiar with the questions to which Compliance expects a sufficient response here and I know how to deal with the time pressure that often arises in this respect.

Answer requests and give approvals for gifts and entertainment

Hardly any other topic was as emotionally charged over a long period of time as gifts and invitations. Especially in investment banking, it was good manners to accept or make generous and occasionally excessive gifts and invitations. A veto from the Compliance Department regularly caused a great stir. Today, there may be less uncontrolled growth, but the issue is still topical. Compliance has drawn up rules designed to prevent a financial services provider and its employees from being suspected of wanting to influence their counterpart inappropriately. Similarly, employees must not be suspected of being influenced or compromised in any way. The rules are particularly strict in the case of elected officials, i.e. representatives of institutions which belong directly or indirectly to state bodies.

The task of compliance here is primarily to ensure that the internal rules on gifts and invitations are observed and enforced. In addition, in special cases, a balance must be struck between the business interest and the appropriateness of an invitation or gift. In many years of practice, I have learned to do this in a sober and objective manner and to communicate clearly to colleagues what is possible and what is not.

Check employee transactions

Not only since the Wirecard scandal made it known that of all people, employees of the BaFin, who are responsible for the supervision of market manipulation and insider trading, have been trading shares and share derivatives of this and other issuers to a considerable extent and uncontrolled, it has been clear that anyone who has any kind of privileged access to insider-relevant information is always exposed to the suspicion of using it for his own purposes. For compliance, the issue here is not only the concrete prevention of insider trading by employees, but also the protection of the company against the damage to its reputation, which also arises if a suspicion proves to be unfounded on closer investigation.

My many years of experience have shown me that the balance between the personal interests of employees and those of the employer must always be weighed in favour of the latter. Enforcing this with a sense of proportion and transparent rules is conflictual and difficult, but absolutely necessary to protect the employer from damage to its reputation.