Compliance vs. Legal — The Past Month


Picture from notinatuscanvilla.com
Picture from notinatuscanvilla.com

Yep. I just looked at my last post and it was written over a month ago. Shame on me. How can I expect you guys to be interested or stick around here if I don’t take the time to say hello, at least. Anyway, this is not an excuse or anything like that. Actually, if I’m serious about wanting to help you or make this blog grow, nothing should be standing in the way, right?????

So what happened in the time I have been away from the blog? Well, I changed positions at work. If you recall I was working in compliance. I left my paralegal role in one large bank and joined the compliance department of another large bank. Did I like it? Yeah, I guess I enjoyed it well enough. I didn’t like enough to stay, though. I am glad I did it. Why? you might ask. Well, it taught me two things? 1) that I really, really (can I say really one more time?) really…. haha… like being a paralegal. 2) Compliance is not for me.

So what do I see as the biggest difference? Both roles involve regulatory change management, both roles involve research of the various regulators in charge of our money and what our financial institutions can or cannot do with our money. Most of the day is spent trolling those regulatory bodies, in both positions….. So why would I take this position is if sounds like the same thing? Well, the reason is the actual role.

A compliance officer advises the business. The compliance officer is much closer to the business than the lawyer. Although the lawyer must be familiar with the business, the lawyer really does not, and has no time to be concerned with the intricacies of the business….. that’s the compliance officers’ job. So the lawyer interprets the law and hands it over to the compliance officer to give it a second look and say….. Well. Here’s what legal says, here’s what we do and here’s what we have to stop doing in order to remain in compliance with what the regulator is saying. There is so much “advising” that needs to be done that the compliance officer has no time to read and interpret.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like knowing the business and I learned quite a bit about the big money machine. However, I learned these past few years that I am ok with knowing the business superficially enough to know it but my passion is in really knowing the law.

As a paralegal I have the time to really get into the regulators’ heads….. Sometimes not a happy place to be and most of the time a frustrating proposition. If you have tried to read a bill, a proposal and eventually a new law….. Holly heck….. Yesterday I was actually wondering if the law was written in English….. that, at times, is the fun of it.

So, why did I go back to the legal department? Well, it came down to what my passion is. My passion is reading and writing and learning the law. My passion is to sit with books (these days the computer or the iPad) and read, highlight, make notes, and eventually be able to put into words what I believe the law addresses. In compliance, while I got to look at new laws, if I were to stay and follow my passion, as stated above, my role would have morphed into a data entry person. There is no time to read, understand and digest it. If I were to move up in a compliance role, I would have had to give up that passion. I would have had to rely on legal to really get into the weeds of the law so that I could get into the weeds of the business. I would not be able to spend as much time as I would like in being well versed in the legalities of what is or is not allowed. Someone else would have to do that and I would have to take their word for it.

I chose to follow my passion. I am busier than I have been the past 3 years, since I came to this new firm. However, I am happier than I have been at this firm. There is something to be said for figuring out who you are and doing what comes naturally to you. I enjoy being surrounded by words and then taking those words, which at times are a bit incomprehensible, and have them make sense to someone who does not get a chance to sit and analyze them. I have that luxury now. Research and analysis is my thing. That’s what I enjoy doing.

So, I’m often asked what my advice is for someone just getting started in their career. My advice is to figure out what you love to do. To figure that out, thing about what you can spend hours on and not mind, what would you do even if you were not getting paid for it and then go out and find a place where you can do that and get paid for it as well.

I hope all this works. I have been in my new role for a month now and it looks like things are finally getting settled and I’m not playing catch up. I will try to go back to some type of schedule on the blog so you guys don’t forget about me. I’m also thinking, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Would you guys like a YouTube channel to go along with this blog? Think that’s a good idea? Would you subscribe? Would you guys want to see have a YouTube channel to go along with this blog?

Let me know. Nice chatting with you all and I’ll see on my next blog post.

XoXo
Ana

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