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Miss Knalidi Jackson-Frederick: There’s something for lay people
Knalidi Jackson-Frederick, president of the Association of Compliance Professionals of T&T, says there is something in her association for lay people, even though they are excluded from its membership.
She denies it is an elitist group and that the association is happy about pending legislative reforms to provide good governance principles in the areas under review.
Q:Ms Jackson-Frederick, the country already has three financial regulatory bodies so why the need for the Association of Compliance Professionals?
A:We fit in as a lobbyist group in support of best-practice standards in compliance and compliance is an independent. We are looking at specific sectors, as you would have banking professionals in the conduct of their affairs, ensuring that they comply with the FIU’s regulations. We are also here to provide a forum and to deal with industry issues. I am sure you must be cognisant of the recent debacles both locally and internationally in financial institutions.
I am sure you are referring to the Clico disaster, and do you think if your group was around before its establishment in 2009, the outcome would not turn out the way it did?
(A slight chuckle) I would believe not necessarily so, because legislative reform is a critical factor to ensure that institutions conform to regulations, and what we find now, more or less, is that many institutions observe the regulations, particularly in relation to compliance of a persuasive authority.
But in some instances the legislation does not garner sufficient weight as it is to support implementation of sound governance principles. Nevertheless, we are enthused with what we are seeing in terms of legislative reform.
(A deep breath) You have the Securities Industry Act, you have the Credit Union Act and so on. These would impact the respective centres in terms of good governance and in terms of best practices in terms of complying with the regulations.
Are you suggesting, Ms Jackson-Frederick, that everything is not all right in the various sectors under review?
Well, even internationally you will find that not everything is all right and our role is also to provide training support in the various sectors in developing compliance programmes.
Your organisation is open to bankers, accountants, business people, attorneys…?
It depends on our ambit, eh? Which is to advance the knowledge and the professionalism of our membership and any person with a vested interest in the profession that is compliance.
Why should the average citizen be interested in your group, and can non-professionals join your organisation?
(Definitively) Not open to non-professionals.
Are you an elitist bunch?
(Laughs heartily) By no means. But as I said, the emphasis is to clearly articulate and interpret legislation, guidelines, recommendations coming out of any issues that might arise, and we would also be considering the layman’s interest. But those individuals who are interested in compliance will have an understanding of the sector.
The fact is, Ms Jackson-Frederick, lay people utilise the services of your membership—you don’t feel compelled to involve them in a more direct manner?
We do have a Web site, Clevon, on which the lay persons can access information on all related matters, and they can also seek our assistance in any pertinent area under our ambit.
Has the association reached out to the government and the professional groups you are catering to?
Certainly not the government…not yet. But we have reached out to organisations like the SEC and the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Can you give us a brief explanation of what is compliance in the context of the professions?
The compliance profession is a burgeoning area, it is a burgeoning profession in T&T and we want to ensure that the financial services industry and those sectors within the ambit of the applicable legislation are cognisant of the roles and responsibilities of the compliance officer.
Finally, Madam President, even though you all have excluded us lay people from your rather exclusive group, since you do not approve of “elite” in this context (another burst of laughter) how will we benefit from the existence of your organisation?
Awareness. Awareness of critical compliance issues. I believe that once lay people are cognisant of the fact that there is an association whose primary objective is advancing significant contribution on key industry issues relevant to compliance, they would look at us, the primary resource for information, for clarification, for research.
I am not aware of any other similar organisation in this country at this time and in an effort to foster relations with similar bodies in the Caribbean we participated in two sessions where experts in the field discussed compliance issues under the aegis of Caribbean Compliance Regional Association.
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