The Financial Services Audit Center is celebrating the conclusion of another successful Financial Services Exchange in Washington D.C. last week. After making its debut in 2015, the conference came back strong with another excellent program this year. The Exchange's concept of bringing together legislators, regulators, and industry leaders to connect, collaborate, and evolve resonated well through the 450 attendees, and brought about some overarching themes surrounding the internal audit profession in the financial services industry. Auditing culture, talent management, and increased regulatory expectations were topics that permeated the conference sessions in various forms.
Auditing culture was a recurring topic in many of the sessions. Throughout the conference, topics like risk culture, hard controls, and soft controls were abuzz. Regulators and industry leaders alike weighed in on tone at the top, culture audits based on data or judgment, intrinsic motivation, and root cause. The discussions on auditing culture provided attendees with numerous concepts and takeaways, but the conversation continues as the industry advances around the next corner.
When it comes to talent management, financial services internal audit plays on a level like no other industry. Heightened regulatory expectations, continuous innovation, and firms pushing to maximize profits under tight restrictions all lead to the internal audit function being stretched to its limits —no matter the staff size. Specialized skills in data analytics, information technology, and regulatory compliance are in high demand. Discussions throughout the conference included the need for specialized training, prioritizing needs, rotating staff, and managing generational gaps. Risk in the industry is ever-evolving. Attendees were emboldened to be creative, collaborative, and courageous.
In their sessions, regulators shared their focus on strategic risk, credit risk, operational risk, and compliance risk. Not surprisingly, regulatory requirements with the intention of maintaining a level of systemic stability in the financial markets are not slowing down. The regulators conveyed that the increased expectations of the internal audit function reflect the importance of audit's work, and their reliance on a strong internal audit function in the institutions.
By the end of the Exchange's two days, attendees gained a regulatory perspective from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Industry experts shared leading practices in the internal audit profession on numerous relevant topics. They also got a glimpse of the Congressional focus from policymakers. The rich program of the Financial Services Exchange was developed mostly through the volunteerism of our members. I thank you so much for all of the time and effort that was put into making the Exchange successful. As we start laying the foundation for 2017, please visit the Financial Services Audit Center website for even more content stemming from this year's Exchange.
About the Author
Cassian Jae is the director of The IIA’s Financial Services Audit Center, which provides thought leadership, advocacy, and networking throughout the industry. Prior to joining The IIA, Jae spent thirteen years at John Hancock Investments – nine as a compliance director. In that role, he served as the primary examination contact for regulatory agencies, and he designed and implemented audit compliance, risk, and legal processes that became enterprise standards.