The economist reviews how, since the financial crisis, compliance budgets and headcounts have swelled at the big banks.
But pity not finance’s in-house policemen, for they have had a golden decade since the crisis. While swathes of banking have laboured under cutbacks and stiff capital requirements, their headcount and clout have grown. Banks fined for aiding corruption, money-laundering and sanctions-busting have beefed up their compliance, risk, legal and internal-audit teams. Compliance officers will never be the rock stars of finance, but they have moved from drums to rhythm guitar. And though some banks hint at having reached “Peak Compliance”, staffing and investment are likely to remain well above pre-crisis levels.