Compliance Institute AGM: Remarks from Diarmuid Whyte and Kathy Jacobs


Date: 13 January 2021

Compliance Institute's 2022 AGM took place virtually on Wednesday 12 May 2022. Below you'll find outgoing President Kathy Jacob's opening remarks and incoming President Diarmuid Whyte's closing remarks.

Kathy Jacobs - Opening Remarks


Go raibh maith agaibh as freastal ar Cruinniú Ginearálta Bliantúil an Ionstiud Comhlianta agus athbhliain faoi mhaise dár mbaill go léir.


Thank you for attending the Compliance Institute Annual General Meeting.  And a happy 2022 to all our members. 

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.   

Diarmuid Whyte - Closing Remarks


Past presidents, members of council and members. I would like to express how much of an honour it is to take on the role of the President of the Compliance Institute. In joining the Finance, Risk and Administration Committee over ten years ago I didn’t think I would find myself in the role of the President today. 

I think it is always important to recognise the contributions over the years of our membership base without which, we would not have the Compliance Institute. The tireless efforts that are made in the Compliance Institutes programmes and events truly are to the benefit of the wider membership. 


My focus in my time as President will be the continued support through COVID and beyond to our executive in delivery of the Compliance Institute’s strategy and the delivery for the members as our primary purposes. The continued offering of programmes that meet our membership’s needs remains key.


I would encourage the membership base to continue to identify areas which may benefit from further programmes and where sufficient demand, I would like to work with Michael and the Executive team to bring these to our membership base. As our offering is driven for our members and by our members, in order to ensure that we can deliver this I would encourage the completion of the engagement survey circulated by the executive. Please do keep an eye out for a reminder this week. 

As Kathy has mentioned diversity remains a key area for the Compliance Institute as it will for me as incoming President as part of an equality, diversity and inclusion focus. We welcome further female leadership to our forums including the Council and Working Groups. Our membership base continues to see more diverse candidates with new and differing skillsets as the profession continues to evolve. The Compliance Institute values all contributions and as an institute for its members would like to encourage those interested to take the opportunity to drive the direction of the Compliance Institute and participate in our forums. If anybody is interested in a position, please do reach out to me as I am happy to share my experience and assist where possible.


Importantly, this year, represents a significant milestone in the Compliance Institute’s history, in its 20th Anniversary. I hope to see the return of in person events and the opportunity to meet with you all in person.


I will finish by paying tribute to the outgoing President, Kathy Jacobs.  Kathy in taking on the presidency took on the role at a challenging time due to COVID restrictions. While I am sure we would all like to show our appreciation in person, and hopefully this time will come, I would like to thank Kathy on behalf of the Council, the Executive and the Compliance Institutes members for her contribution and leadership. I can certainly say you have continued the work of your predecessors.


I can only hope I can continue your and our previous presidents and councils good work.