The UK’s standards body, the BSI, has developed a standard for compliance teams in UK financial services firms.

The standard will set out a common methodology, process and good practice which can be adopted by compliance teams in retail and wholesale financial firms.

The voluntary standard will seek to complement existing regulation. ‘It will enable organizations to demonstrate regulatory compliance and assurance more easily through a consistent, transparent, auditable approach,’ said the BSI.

Unlike professional qualifications, the standard will not focus on individual competencies, but on business and operational processes.

In a statement the BSI commented: “Compliance with the standard is expected to help reduce the risk of compliance failures and offer greater reassurance to senior management and stakeholders that regulatory requirements are being met and managed appropriately. It will also enable better monitoring of systems and processes within a compliance team and promote recruitment of appropriately competent and experienced staff.”

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said: "Once published, this standard will provide a robust and consistent framework within which an organization will be able to administer and manage its compliance programme, providing reassurance to senior managers, regulators and customers by reducing the risk of compliance failure. BSI is delighted to bring together the financial services industry in a proactive response to events in the financial world."

Angela Knight, CEO of the British Bankers’ Association, said:"This is an interesting and challenging initiative which should improve efficiencies between and amongst compliance teams across the financial service industry and the BBA welcomes its development."

A draft of the standard will be available for public comment in Spring 2010 with publication expected late 2010.