Reflections in escalors

Risky Women Radio: Diane Minunni Callan From TD Bank on Pace of Change, Compliance Bots, and Why a Career in Risk Is Indefinitely Rewarding

Lucy Pearman, Managing Director Global Lead, TRANSFORM Risk and Compliance

As the host of a recent episode on the Risky Women Radio, a podcast series, I had the pleasure to speak with Diane Minunni Callan, leader of TD Bank’s enterprise corporate office compliance program. Ms. Callan is responsible for leading TD Bank’s ongoing development of the corporate office function’s compliance programs. She’s also responsible for compliance’s regulatory change management process, covering all business segments globally. In addition, she oversees the TD Compliance Academy, an in-house training program focused on promoting core competencies and excellence in compliance.

We began by speaking about personal and professional risk, factors in any career. Ms. Callan’s biggest risk was accepting a role to start a de novo institution as a 90-day contract. “I’m a tad risk averse, so it was a surprising move for me, with three little kids and a husband starting his business. But it was the best move I’ve ever made. And it taught me so many things.” Ms. Callan continues to find the financial services industry exciting. “So much to take in, and it literally changes daily. There’s always an opportunity to learn and to solve problems. That tends to be my forte, so I’ve never been bored in this job.”

Ms. Callan has two daughters starting their career journeys. The advice she gives them is to be bold, to find their voices, to trust their guts, to maintain their integrity and to work only for companies whose cultures are a good fit for them. She would tell women to jump into careers in risk. Career progression in compliance, she added, really shows no end.

Our conversation turned to the pace of change. What’s different about constant change in the industry now, Ms. Callan remarked, is that changes are driven societally. The environmental, social and governance structure (ESG) space is nothing new; the U.S. had fairness standards before ESG. “But seeing this focus and pace is completely different,” she said. “Where companies can go wrong is not paying attention to regulatory expectations and waiting for the actual regulations to drop. I don’t think that’s just ESG. That’s actually across the industry. It’s a fast-moving environment, and many organizations can’t keep up with that ever-increasing change. The challenge is in not taking it in, and not managing it cohesively.”

Ms. Callan’s team is leveraging technology to reduce risk in their processes. We discussed how technology could help with the challenge. With ever-changing regulations, how can businesses leverage technology in regulatory change processes? “The first thing is to know your compliance and risk management programs and consider how technology can enable what you already have in place,” Ms. Callan said. “I don’t look for technology to solve programmatic issues. It should only enable and improve compliance change. In a manual environment, there’s risk in relying on Excel spreadsheets, looking for your stakeholders, trying to find your controls. Technology can enable intake analysis, gap assessment, impact assessment — everything you need to know — without losing a citation, missing a stakeholder or missing a control. It also helps in a post-implementation review — to know that you had it right.”

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning is where we should be focusing now,” Ms. Callan observed. “But you have to ensure the compliance program is in place first. Do you know the rules that apply to your institution? Do you know the businesses they impact? What’s your current control structure? Once you know these things, artificial intelligence can speed efforts. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are key enablers for data challenges related to unpacking unstructured, disparate and siloed data. It’s a key enabler for compliance functions.”

Our conversation moved on to bots. “Having bots on the front office desk, in place of a risk and compliance officer? Never in a million years!” Ms. Callan asserted. “Bots have a place in searching for rules, finding policies or things like that, but you need context, you need all other kinds of information; you’re always going to need the warm body to do it.”

What’s most thought-provoking in the global arena of compliance today, Ms. Callan observed, isn’t regulatory change. “Using digital currency to reach more un- and under-banked people. Cryptocurrency has a lot of regulatory attention right now, but the fact that you could do good — reach a population that may be struggling — is absolutely fascinating. It’s one of the disrupting ideas that is quite fun right now.”

Risky Women Radio connects, celebrates and champions women in risk, regulation and compliance. The series shares insight and perspectives from members of the global Risky Women network and brings together hundreds of senior women professionals with a new emerging group of leading women and men. Risky Women Radio is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and RSS feeds. You can listen to the full audio of our conversation here. You can also learn more about Risky Women by visiting their website.

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