Following the escalation of the pandemic brought by the omicron variant, we have had of necessity to make arrangements to ensure that the AGM is accessible to all our members in a safe environment and so for the second year running the AGM is brought to you online.
This AGM is our first official event of 2022 and also the first official event for the Compliance Institute. This is also my final event or act as President of the Compliance Institute and shortly I will hand over to our new President Diarmuid Whyte who will also say a few words, so I will keep my remarks short.
It has been the privilege of my career to lead our profession as President of the ACOI and then the Compliance Institute. Despite it being a whole pandemic ago - the 2 years have flown in and reflecting on these 2 years – it has been a busy and hopefully, for our members a period of progress despite the significant challenges, restrictions and limitations that the pandemic has brought.
In 2021, our education mission continued not just with a comprehensive CPD programme delivered in an online environment. We also rolled out the Certificate and Diploma in Fintech Risk and Compliance. We have been delighted with the response and feedback from our students on this course delivered in conjunction with Professional Accountancy Training (PAT). This Fintech course is an innovation in itself and ensures that Compliance Professionals who are entering these new businesses are fully equipped with the skills and knowledge they need. It has attracted Springboard funding, which has been increased, so a recognition of the importance of having such a qualification to support Ireland’s fintech industry.
As well as CPD, we have kept members up to date with the latest developments in compliance via our re-vamped ICQ, a monthly newsletter, thought leadership publications and guides –and Member only access to presentations and speeches from expert speakers from the world of compliance. We launched the Compliance Files Podcast Series in early 2021, and we have been delighted with the response. We published 22 episodes, with a total content of 761 minutes, we have interviewed 32 experts and leaders, drawn from regulators, consultants and practitioners, the Podcasts have been downloaded 8,640 times across 65 countries.
We continued our involvement in the International Federation of Compliance Associations (IFCA), the global umbrella organisation for compliance professional bodies which the Compliance Institute is a founding member of. The second IFCA International Compliance Congress was held in November 2021 and took place over 5 days. Compliance professionals from all over the world attended, and the Compliance Institute supplied a significant number of speakers for the event. We also, among others, contributed to the German, Slovenian and Argentinian conferences, showcasing the Institute’s expertise and thought leadership on a global stage.
One of our key strategic objectives continues to be, raising the profile of Compliance Institute to become the ‘Voice of Compliance’ in Ireland. We have continued with widespread coverage in national and regional media on various compliance related topics putting across the expert view of the compliance professional and are now seen by certain media outlets as the ‘Go To’ body for commentary on compliance matters.
Another major deliverable in 2021 was the re-brand to Compliance Institute, which is not just an image refresh, but reflects what we want to achieve over the years ahead.
Diarmuid will talk about plans for 2022, but some thoughts on my hopes for the future – I would hope that the Institute will continually renew and challenge itself to do more and better for members. In particular, the Institute should truly embrace diversity, and as a predominantly female profession in a numerical sense, we need to see that translate into females leading the profession. I am only the second female president, and we would have to have a female president for the next 16 years, that is until 2038, to equal the length of time that the profession has been led by men. I have made the point on previous occasions, that the pandemic has shown that female leadership is not just a matter of equality, but a force for good in and of itself, so female leadership has nothing more to prove, and I urge strong female compliance professionals to come forward for leadership roles, to shape your profession, join Working Groups, consider joining Council, and put yourself forward for leadership roles in them. Where barriers remain, and there are many, tear them down, leap over them and remember the greatest barriers are in the mind. Some progress has been made, but old attitudes die hard, and we must challenge ourselves on thinking that in any way degrades or discounts female potential and contribution in the public and professional sphere.
Finally, it is my sincerest hope as President of Compliance Institute that after the last 2 years of various degrees of hibernation that we will get the opportunity to congregate in person this year. As a professional community, we thrive on exchanging ideas and best practice and expertise, and the pandemic has put a painful brake on this important part of our professional culture.
To conclude, despite the challenges, frustrations, and limitations of the last 2 years it has been a privilege and a pleasure to lead the Compliance Institute as its President. I am extremely proud of the Executive team and Council, and what has been achieved and I would like to thank them here for their support. The future and interests of the Compliance Institute are in very good hands. We launched the 20th Anniversary year at the Conference on 18th November last, and I look forward to a year where we can reflect and celebrate our successes and build for the next 20 years.
I congratulate Diarmuid on his accession to the Presidency, it is, I can say emphatically a fulfilling and exciting role. I wish Diarmuid well in his leadership of the profession, and I pledge my continued support to him and the Compliance Institute into the future.