09 December 2003

Holistic Compliance

Holistic Compliance- Wall Street Technology

Holistic Compliance
Feature Story

When Jay Cohen, vice president and chief compliance officer at MONY Group - a diversified financial-services company - spoke at this fall's InformationWeek conference on compliance in financial services, he enumerated a laundry list of IT projects on his firm's agenda.

Heading up that list were: spending on Sarbanes-Oxley, enhancing surveillance technology to keep track of all sales practices, anti-money-laundering compliance, privacy and security technology, as well as e-mail supervision and retention issues.

"Yes, I spend a lot of time with my CIO these days," says Cohen, a former prosecutor who is responsible for preventing illicit activity in the firm's retail brokerage, mutual-fund and insurance businesses.

It's no secret that financial-services firms like MONY Group are grappling with requirements to comply with multiple regulations. According to a recent compliance study conducted by the InformationWeek Media Network: 81 percent of the 36 securities and investment firms interviewed are taking steps to comply with SEC Rule 17a-4 regarding retention and surveillance of e-mails and instant messages; 72 percent are addressing the USA Patriot Act; and 62 percent are dealing with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires the certification of financial controls and the integrity of data impacting financial statements.

But if financial-services firms are so busy coping with a bevy of urgent regulations, why are they buying one-off technology solutions?

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