Latest Products

From the Archives: Attributes of a Compliance Professional

Friday 18 December 2020

In conversation with Tamuka Nyawo

At this year’s GRC2019 Conference Gala Dinner, Compliance Manager at Trustees Executors Limited,  Tamuka Nyawo, based in New Zealand, was presented with the  GRCI’s Compliance Professional of the Year Award.

But what does it take to be the compliance professional of the year? Nyawo shared with the  GRC Professional  some of the attributes   of a great risk and compliance professional.
Firstly, congratulations on the Award!   Tell me a little bit about your educational and professional journey to compliance?
Thank you, Kwame. In terms of my educational journey, I studied law at the University of London and attained an LL.B (hons) degree. Thereafter, I completed other courses to enhance my knowledge, including a Specialist Diploma in Employment Law, a Certificate in Insurance, Professional Legal Studies, a Certificate IV in Compliance Management with the GRCI, ACAMS Certificate in KYC CDD, and most recently, I completed a Specialist Certificate in Conduct Risk.
My professional career began when I worked for a large insurance company as a legal adviser in the United Kingdom. After three years in that role, an opportunity arose to join a stockbroking firm as a legal & compliance executive, and that is where my compliance journey really began. I worked with some knowledgeable and experienced individuals who were very passionate about risk and compliance. After about two years, I decided to move to New 22    GRC Professional • Summer 2019 Zealand, where I took up a role with an insurance company as a claims’ examiner. Since the role was not compliance-focused, I only stayed for about one year before taking up a new role as compliance manager for a large debt-collection company, based in their Auckland office.
After a year and a half, I was promoted to cover both the Auckland and Australian Offices, and this gave me an opportunity to learn about Australian legislation and regulations and to engage with ASIC and APRA. A further promotion came up when I was appointed   Legal Counsel

I held further roles after that, including group compliance manager and solicitor for a direct debit billing company, senior compliance specialist for a large bank, and of course my current role as Compliance Manager for Trustees Executors in their Corporate Trustee Services Business Unit.
What has winning the Award meant   for you?

Winning the Award is a great honour. To be recognised by my peers and the GRCI is very special indeed.
In your mind what are some the critical attributes for a compliance professional?
I believe the following are critical attributes:

·      Capacity to do the right thing
·      Good listening and writing skills
·      Genuine passion and enthusiasm for compliance
·      Strong belief in the mission of compliance and ethics
·      Desire to create systems, processes and policies that work
·      An ability to influence, persuade and communicate

What do you hope to see change  in the way compliance is viewed by   the business?
I am very fortunate to work for a business (Trustees Executors) that strongly believes in risk and compliance with strong support from the Board and Senior Management. I hope the business continues to recognise the importance of compliance and that compliance continues to be viewed as an enabler rather than obstacle.
I know you did not get a chance to be there for the whole conference, but was there anything that struck you while you were there?

I was impressed with how the attendees to whom I spoke were willing to share their compliance experience around what is happening in their respective organisations. Plus, I managed to make new friends. We have some very experienced and knowledgeable members in our Institute! 
What advice do you have for compliance professionals who are trying to get this right in their organisations?
Have good people skills, gain the trust of your fellow employees and executives, stay up to date with applicable legislation and regulations and be able to interpret them quickly and accurately. In addition, you must always act with integrity and tact and be an example to fellow employees