A culture of learning: reinforcing a firm’s values, ethics and culture through building a learning environment in compliance

Michael Roemer, Group Head of Compliance, and Mark Buckle, Head of Learning for Compliance, Barclays

Abstract: As financial institutions globally try to resolve legacy conduct issues and rebuild trust with clients, recent congressional hearings showing senior banking executives being challenged on systematic misconduct within their banks are a stark reminder that work on organisational culture in the sector is as pressing now as at any point during the banking crisis of the last ten years. If positioned well in the organisation, compliance should be a culture-carrier and be present at those crucial moments when important decisions are being made. Compliance can provide the check and challenge on organisational culture, values and ethics, but this requires compliance professionals to have a very different skill set from the legal and compliance officers of the past. While some of these skills can and should be taught, the dynamic nature of the business in this digitised, disrupted sector means learning is likely to be much more effective if it becomes part of ‘the way we do things around here’. The authors share their experience in building the skills and capabilities required for compliance to ensure business is ‘complying with the spirit as well as the letter of prevailing regulation and law’. This paper will also explore what is required to advance towards a learning culture where learning and innovation happen organically and spontaneously rather than programmatically.


Keywords: values, ethics, culture, learning, development


Michael Roemer is currently the Group Head of Compliance for Barclays and has worked at the bank since joining as the Head of Barclays Internal Audit in 2012. He has a BS degree in Accounting from St John’s University and completed the Tuck Executive Programme at the Tuck School of Dartmouth College in 1998. Michael joined Barclays from CIT Group where he was the Chief Auditor, reporting directly to the Board Audit Committee and having global responsibility for CIT Group’s internal audit function. Michael has 27 years’ experience in internal audit, with 23 years of that time spent at JPMorgan Chase. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York and is Audit Committee Chairman as well as on the Board of Directors of Ronald McDonald House of New York, Inc. where he is Audit Committee Chairman. In 2016, the LGBT Agenda (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) announced Mike’s appointment as the new ExCo sponsor.


Mark Buckle is currently the Head of Learning for Compliance at Barclays – a role he took over in December 2015. Mark specialises in Learning & Development within Control Functions in the Financial Sector, performing that role most recently in Barclays Internal Audit and previously as an Audit Partner at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and as Head of People Management for the audit function at Lloyds Banking Group during the transaction between Lloyds and HBOS. In his time at Barclays Mark has also focused on the Culture Agenda. He worked closely with HR on Barclays group’s culture learning programme and on approaches to auditing and measuring risk culture – performing a review of the progress of the bank’s cultural change in 2015. Mark also worked for 10 years with KPMG, both in the UK and South Africa.



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