Compliance professionals don’t think the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will lead to a significant increase in compliance spending this year and they expect more money will be allocated to technology rather than education and consulting, according to a new study conducted between March and April by National Regulatory Services (NRS).
Nearly three out of four respondents reported their overall compliance budget for 2011 would be approximately the same as for 2010. The average budget for 2010 was between $50,000 and $75,000 for the firms that responded to the survey. Respondent companies said that they allocated 30% to technology or software, 27.5% to education, 32.8% to consulting and 13.3% to outsourcing services.
Technology and software was the only area of spending that more respondents (14% versus 7.5%) expected to increase rather than decrease. Approximately 11% expect education and training spending to decrease versus 6% who believe it will increase.
There has been little growth in base compensation for compliance professionals in the past three years. About 54% of respondents reported salaries ranging from $60,000 to approximately $125,000 a year. In the previous 2008 survey, 60% said they earned between $40,000 and $125,000 annually.
John Gebauer, managing director of NRS, said he's confident that the implementation of Dodd-Frank, passed more than a year ago, and other regulatory initiatives will eventually lead to an increase in compensation spending.
“Despite the survey results, the reality is more regulations will be coming down the line,” he said. “Most compliance staffs have already been trimmed and they can’t absorb the extra work. I think companies will be forced to spend more [on compliance staff] in the near future.”
Only one out of four chief compliance officers reported spending over 90% of their time on compliance-related tasks however, which was down from 30% in 2008.
Chief compliance officers frequently wear other hats and may handle other executive tasks, Gebauer noted. “This isn’t necessarily a problem,” he said. “But it might not be what the SEC expected.”
In contrast, 55% of those identified as compliance officers or managers reported spending more than 90% of their time on compliance issues.