Up to 15% of support staff at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are working on compliance projects for financial regulations, Stephen Ashton, director of global IT business management at the investment bank, revealed this week.
The support staff – spanning departments including IT, operations and compliance – are working either directly or indirectly on regulations including Basel 2, international financial reporting standards and Sarbanes-Oxley.
At Finexpo, the IT and finance conference, Ashton declined to put a figure on the cost of compliance for the bank’s IT divisions globally. His comments come amid growing demands of financial regulations on IT budgets.
Ashton said one of his main challenges was securing sufficient funds for IT projects to help the bank comply with Sarbanes-
Oxley. The US legislation to tighten financial reporting in the wake of corporate governance scandals such as WorldCom and Enron not only affects banks but all European companies listed on US stock exchanges.
Ashton said that for IT directors at such companies the challenge in achieving Sarbanes-
Oxley compliance is "selling it to some poor bloke in the finance department who has nothing to do with the US and no idea about Sarbanes-Oxley".
He said IT was part of the solution to complying with financial regulations, but added that the complexity of modern corporate IT made compliance projects tricky.
"We have obviously built a monster," he said. "[Companies] have ended up with silos [of different systems and business units] with thousands of people working terribly hard."
For its Sarbanes-Oxley project, DrKW is using tools developed internally to assess different business risks across the bank, coupled with software from Tideway Systems.
The software has helped DrKW create a map of its IT systems, how they are linked and to predict the impact of any changes.