Tuesday Sep 10, 2013

Project and Program Management: The Key to Thriving in the Regulation Nation

Written by: Mike Metcalf, Director of Services Industry, Oracle PrimaveraProject and Program Management System for Regulatory Compliance and Control

Between 2009 and 2012, US businesses were burdened with more than $500 Billion in regulation costs. In 2012 alone an additional $215 Billion in final rule costs were added. For financial services organizations, the Basel capital standards, Volcker rule and Durbin Amendment are most often cited as major drivers of additional costs. According to its own reported data, Bank of America spends over $4B on regulatory costs representing almost 3.5% of its market capitalization. In its 2011 annual report, JP Morgan Chase states, "It will take an enormous amount of resources across all of our disciplines – people, systems, technology and control functions (finance, risk, legal, audit and compliance) to get it done right. Over the next few years, we estimate that tens of thousands of our people will work on these changes, of which 3,000 will be devoted full time to the effort, at a cost of close to $3 billion." 

Remarkably, in spite of this explosion of regulations, increasing compliance costs, limited resources and emphasis on change management, most compliance efforts are dispersed across the organization and lack any formalized project and program management controls. As many CIO's have experienced, effective project portfolio management processes and systems can help via their ability to:

  • Communicate and co-ordinate change management activities that span functional and organizational boundaries
  • Improve governance and oversight of business-critical initiatives
  • Identify and eliminate duplicate or rogue initiatives
  • Leverage best practices across the organization
  • Mitigate schedule risks and help control costs

The American Action Forum estimates the total financial services regulatory cost over the last 10 years to be almost $25 Billion and growing. The 2013 Cost of Compliance Survey conducted by Thomson Reuters states that, "The fact that 67 percent of respondents expected their budgets to rise slightly or significantly indicated that those who make budgetary decisions are increasingly risk aware and appreciate the need to have a well-resourced compliance function to mitigate the myriad risks which firms may face in the coming year." It concludes by stating, "It looks as though 2013 will be characterized by the need to juggle a further increase in regulatory communications, to drive the implementation of agreed change and to ensure that senior managers focus on risk management and corporate governance. All this will have to be managed despite a lack of suitably skilled resources."

It is clear that we have entered an era of financial services re-regulation and that these challenges will continue for many years to come. It's time for risk and compliance officers to adopt proven solutions such as project portfolio management to manage the large and growing number of change initiatives resulting from these new regulations. Organizations that excel at managing regulatory compliance will minimize compliance costs, avoid penalties, and leverage regulatory mastery for competitive advantage. 

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